Today is my 900th Father’s day. The ‘event’ itself has a whole new meaning for me now that I have children. I keep getting asked “What do I want for Father’s Day?” I thought about it. What I really wanted was already here — Nyal and Ryah, my two beautiful children. Essentially I wanted to be a father and so being able to celebrate Father’s Day was the gift! I spent the day doing the normal things we would do including having breakfast, going out to a lunch, then ice cream, and then to my own dad’s place. The ONLY difference for me vs. any other day was that I spent a big part of the day reflecting on fatherhood and truly appreciating my four gifts: Nyal, Ryah, my wife Ananda, and being a Dad.
I went through a ton of old pictures trying to find one of just me and my dad. I couldn’t find a single one. Dad said “But I was always the one taking pictures”. Yes dad, you took all the pictures, and it was a ton of pictures. One with me and mom, mom and the sons, mom and daughter, mom and dad, the whole family, now another with the cousins, first male, then female, then mixed. Sheesh! I get it! We were at Niagara Falls! Do we really need so many pictures? But that was my dad’s thing, capturing the moments ever since he arrived in Canada. Now I look at the 5,000 slides, 10,000 pictures, and now another 10,000 digital shots and I am glad he did this. I can see how he was as a father and now I can salute him here.
What did my dad do for me? My favourite memories were dad teaching me things. Math was always a good topic, as he taught me addition and subtraction even before I hit kindergarten. He was the reason I did so well in school. He also encouraged and challenged me and I loved learning and excelling. The sad part was that throughout school he always asked if I needed any help with my math homework and I never did. I also found out later that every interest I showed in childhood, he would investigate and contact people, including NASA, businesses, even acting! Now that is support.
Dad was always the ‘uncle’ who was central part in parties. He spent a solid amount of time with the kids too and soon was the favourite uncle of everyone. I have since tried to emulate that behaviour. Dad was also an intimidating discplinarian, which was a good counter to his loving side. You got both, take it or leave it.
Dad taught me to love the outdoors, from taking us camping and showing me how his garden was doing. I never learned to enjoy raking though. 🙂
Most importantly, dad taught me to have a strong work ethic. One of his favourite sayings was “Tomorrow never comes”. The best time to do things was right away. He also emphasized the importance to excel and stand out amongst my peers so that I could get the opportunities. I know some people don’t like it when kids do things to please their parents, but I loved making my dad proud. Dad was the hardest working person I have every known. Now as he approaches 70, it is also the toughest thing in the world for me to see. It’s just small things now, but I know they will eventually become bigger.
I know it’s cliche how dad’s are heroes. They are. I have many heroes or people I admire. My dad is my hero for all the reasons above. And because of our connection, history, and my incredible childhood experience, his love means more to me than he may ever know. Even during all my rebellious times, I never meant any disrespect, but rather I was a thinker and determined to achieve my dreams. Ironically, he taught me to be this way. I am grateful he stuck with me.
Now that I am a dad, I finally get it. Darn it he was right! I can’t believe how much I think about and worry about my kids — I’ve become so anal compared to my normally relaxed nature. I want my kids to worry for nothing and to have the opportunities to have the most amazing and fulfilling life. I would do anything for their happiness. I would give my life for them. This profound feeling hit me a few months in and forever has defined how I approach fatherhood.
My wife Ananda nailed my philosophy when she posted:
“Today, I’m thanking Bobby not only for being the father of my children, but also for being the dad he is–a tickle fights and zerbits dad, a role model dad, a teachable moments dad, a gush-with-pride dad, a bust-a-gut-giggling dad, a provider dad, a lazy-morning-snuggles dad, a roll-up-his-sleeves-and-get-it-done dad. The best gift I could ever have given my children was marrying their daddy.”
Holy moly, thanks honey! You got me emotional…again. But partly we should thank my dad too. He lives through me, he inspired me, and played a big part in the man and father I have become.
Thank you Dad. Thanks to my daddy friends. May you enjoy the next several thousand father’s days.
Happy Father’s Day!!