What does it mean to be a Dad?

Dads & Sons

Four days in my life changed who I am forever.  The day I married my wife, the day my son was born and the day my daughter was born.  Being a father is simply amazing.  It is however, not for the faint of heart!  Wait, that’s only three days!  I know, keep reading OK?  One pivotal moment in my young life however, taught me all about what being a dad is and that was the fourth day.

I grew up in a typical and loving middle-class family of six where Dad worked and Mom raised us.  Sure Dad, participated but his role was largely a silent one.  By the time I was in high school, it seemed my dad and I barely spoke, we lived on two different planets.  We weren’t antagonists we just didn’t have anything to say to each other.  Then one day, something REALLY magical happened and taught me all about what a dad is.

I had a lead role in our high school musical and the performances were scheduled unfortunately while my dad was going to be on a golf vacation with his buddies.  No big deal, this wasn’t his cup of tea anyways.   It was closing night, the next day I was headed to Washington, DC for a week with school so I wasn’t even planning to see him.  I had a number early in the show and when I walked to the edge of the stage, I looked out at the audience and there he was, sitting right there, grinning ear to ear.  My heart melted.  Turns out, he made his buddies leave early and drive straight through to make sure he made it.  He still had his suitcase and clubs with him!  That moment, our different worlds collided back into one and he became my best friend, we could talk about anything and we still do.  I grew up that day and saw my dad in a whole new light and it changed me to the core.

Being a dad today involves more than with dads of past generations.  We’re bread winners, we cook, we change diapers, we play and interact with our kids more than dads in the past sometimes did.  But that is not what being a dad is.  Being a dad is about being present and showing our love.  It’s about giving room to let your children grow but being there when they need it.  It’s possessing a profound sense of understanding when you have to step in, step up and step out.  It is having unconditional love for your children and the wherewithal to know how to show it.

That day, 30 years ago, changed forever my relationship with my dad.  It also profoundly and forever changed my understanding about what being a father is all about.  It was and still is about love.  Happy Father’s Day Dad and to all dads!

Copyright © 2014 “The Culinary Cave Dad”

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