Fathers. Everybody has one. But no one has a dad quite like yours. Today, we celebrate Fathers, Dads, and father figures of every stripe. We laud the fun dads, the cool dads, the hard working dads and we thank them for all the good things they say and do for us. While Father’s Day may not get all the pomp and circumstance of Mother’s Day - the sentiment and love remains the same.
Today, Felix and I want to acknowledge the other half of our project here. Many of you know him as Brendan, trial lawyer extraordinaire and occasional media ham. He can be pushy, somewhat obnoxious in court and can put on a withering cross-examination with the greatest of ease. He revels in the law and loves laying legal traps for his foes. People from all walks of life rely on his legal skills to help them through an incredibly difficult time in their lives and he always gives them 1000%.
Around here, he’s just Daddy. He’s not the handy type nor is he the guy who will be cutting it up with the neighbors at the block party. He won’t be the one volunteering to be the soccer coach or the den leader and he definitely will not be the guy who volunteers to sit in the dunking booth at the school carnival.
No, Felix’s Dad isn’t that kind of dad. But let me tell you what kind of dad he is...
He’s the kind of dad who will start a philosophical discussion with a 3 year old until said 3 year old is bored out of his skull (I’ve seen this happen and no, it doesn’t take long). He gives 1000% at work and gives 2000% to his son. He is the dad who shows up at the cub scout meetings in a full suit after a full day of trial just because he didn’t want to miss the awards ceremony.
He’s the dad who goes camping even when he’s not a nature type of person and would much prefer a luxury suite at the Peninsula.
He’s the dad who never misses a school assembly or a parent-teacher conference.
He’s the dad who has the patience and ability to calm a sensitive 8 year old when said 8 year old thinks mom is being a little too mean.
He’s the dad who not only has his son’s back, but mine also. He’s the guy we can count on to make things happen and he always finds a way.
He wasn’t always this way. Being an only child, a lot of this was on the job training for him. Parenthood requires an exceedingly high level of selflessness that may or may not come naturally for some. Brendan has had his moments in the past but Felix and I have had the good fortune to bear witness to his evolution as a father.
In the context of divorce, it is easy to point out all of those things that your former spouse is not rather than appreciating all of the positives that they bring to the table.
Even before we divorced, there were times when I caught myself thinking “why can’t he be like this…?” “Why can’t he do that like so and so’s dad?” “I wish he would do this…”
That type of thinking gets you nowhere and is rather unfair to the other parent AND the child you share in common. I also could have held on to the way he “used to be” and see Brendan as the incredibly “flawed” person who was struggling to find his way and place in the fatherhood matrix. But again, holding on to the past gets you and your kids nowhere.
Parenthood in general and Fatherhood/Motherhood in particular means that you are and always will be a work in progress for so long as your child is similarly a work in progress. Open yourself up to new experiences, give yourself the space to work through the parenting experiences that might make you uncomfortable and, most importantly, SHOW UP!
As the co-parent, focus on the good things and make sure your child knows that you accept them and appreciate the things that the other parent CAN do and who they are rather than what and who they aren’t. Leave the past in the past and allow your co-parent the space to evolve as a parent. I can attest, it is a very, very beautiful thing.
Happy Father’s day to all the Dads out there. I hope you enjoy your day. Most of all, Happy Father’s day to Felix’s very own Daddy. He’s a very lucky little guy.