By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph. D.
I remember being six years old wearing a Superwoman outfit that my parents bought me. I ran down the stairs past my laughing mother and into my father’s arms. He hoisted me above his head and “flew” me around the kitchen. He told me that I could do anything. At that time, you couldn’t tell me that he was less than ten feet tall and I felt on top of the world.
Next, I remember being sixteen. I was nervous about taking my driver’s test and a friend told me of a DMV that had an easy road test. I asked my Dad to take me there instead of the one he picked out (which was a bit overwhelming). He looked at me and then said, “Well, I’ll take you if you want to take the easy path.” The next day, I took the “hard” road test.
I remember being twenty-six and telling my Dad that my boyfriend (now husband) didn’t make much money at his job. My Dad said, “I’d rather you date someone without a lot of money so that you can see how hard he works.”
When I once told my Dad about these memories, he was surprised. I don’t think he even remembered what seems to me to be pivotal moments of my life. Reflecting on Father’s Day, I think of words of wisdom and encouragement from my Dad that stick with me when life gets rough. Sure, he came to my games and took me to school. He even tutored me and taught me how to draw, but that’s not really what sticks with me. Those words of truth from him and moments of pure joy keep me going. I see that same wisdom and joy in my husband as he fathers our children, but it comes out differently.
It comes out during experiences. Like when they are all drawing, feeding fish, wrestling, or playing miniature golf. It comes out when they all try to cook together or when he’s teaching the children a school lesson, and I’ve learned something from him. Step back and let him parent our kids in his own way. His way is not my way, but both of our ways work. I also realize that my children have their own special thoughts about Father’s Day because of their experiences with him.
What’s so unique about fathers is that they pour into their children in different ways. There’s not one way to be a parent and there’s definitely not one way to be a father. So, I encourage everyone to enjoy Father’s Day in a way that works for them. Revel in the memories and if you are lucky enough to have your father on this earth, tell him your fondest memory of him. I bet he’ll be surprised.
Happy Father’s Day!
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