Sometimes, fatherhood looks like Opie Taylor on a Sunday afternoon in Mayberry, a warm spot on a river bank where it doesn’t even matter if the fish are biting because the river is nice and cool on your bare feet and you don’t have anywhere else you need to be.
Other times, fatherhood looks a little more challenging — a hot gush of orange mush spewed down your back because you let your toddler son eat too many Cheetos and he had to let them go.
Sometimes being a dad means you stand tall while your son eloquently addresses the assembled crowd at his eighth grade graduation.
Other times it means you squat low and bite your tongue to wait out a temper tantrum when you know any words at all will just add kindling to the fire.
I’ve known dads who taught their daughters how to throw a perfect spiral and their sons to bake a blackberry pie;
who raised their boys to spot a curveball on the edge of a strike zone and a five-trick Euchre hand;
who replaced the engine five times in their trusty Vanagon and showed their kids the world;
who worked two jobs, raised three sons and two daughters as their own;
who instilled a love of fine literature and free verse in their whole family;
who guided their sons and a lovable clumber spaniel with a sense of humor, honor and humility;
who manned the home fires and fired up the grill with astonishing skill;
who worked hard, played harder and taught their kids to do the same;
who fished dinner right out of the river and served a tastier plate than any five star chef;
who stressed safety, fair play and aggressive hand washing;
The dads I know, and you do too, lean in because they love their families and enjoy their role. Their influence and tender quirks will last long after they’re gone.
Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the fathers I know, have known and will get to know as soon as they are ready.
Our world is better because you’ve been there.