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What I want for Father’s Day

June 17, 2012

Completely gratuitous and self-indulgent…This post isn’t about writing, per se. Except that writing is using words to convey your emotions, so I invoke executive privilege to use works to convey the emotions of the day.

I watched a young father today, pushing a cart through Publix while his son ate a cookie. The kid was blissfully unaware of anything around him, the way only a pre-schooler can be. He had his cookie, and that’s all he needed. On Father’s day, that’s a pretty picture, but it’s not what I want.

My son wants a job because he wants more than a cookie. He wants things a fourteen-year-old wants. He’ll have to wait because most commercial enterprises don’t hire before you’re sixteen. So he’ll find other things to do before he starts high school this fall. He wants to play baseball and try journalism and spend time with his girl friend. His room is a nightmare but it’s got what he wants–laptop, TV, Netflix. If there were a fridge and a toilet, we’d never see him.

My daughter is working today. She has to work this summer because going to school in the big city, and traveling to other big cities on Model UN trips, costs lots of money. She’s worked incredibly hard to get there. So much so that people I don’t know, know about how hard she’s worked. She’s an adult now, and I saw her in a picture wearing a faux-leather dress. Funny, I can still remember what it felt like for her little fingers to wrap my pinky.

What do I want for Father’s Day? I asked for a narrow tie, ear buds, shorts. I could get any of those things. Maybe some coffee. A card. A nice dinner. And I’ll enjoy that. But I already have what I want for Father’s Day–two wonderful kids with a good idea of who they are and what they want out of life.

Their heads are screwed on right, and I trust them more than I thought possible for ones so young. And that’s better for the unaware satisfaction of a little one, at least at this point in my life.

They have to increase while they build their lives and, as the way of the world, my wife and I have to decrease. That’s how it works. At least when things go well, that’s how it works. And that’s what I want, and got this Father’s Day.

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