Father’s Day in my home growing up was an event. While the whole event was designed to surprise our father with breakfast in bed and a bottle of Hai Karate, it was all orchestrated by my mother, who without a doubt, made sure our father was in the right place at the right time to receive our awkwardly wrapped tokens of love and illegible cards scripted in crayon. What was most amazing was the Oscar-worthy expressions of what’s all this from my father each and every year. As a child I wondered, were we that good?
Actually, the secret to a great Father’s Day is a great relationship with father. The day marked an annual culmination of good times, discipline, moments of clarity, and revelations of who our father really was. While he was never campaigning for Father of the Year, every now and then he would do something, say something, or take us somewhere that was added to the highlight reel of our lives.
Now as a father myself, I too enjoy acting like I didn’t know the day is Father’s Day. I openly question my three kids, why are you guys serving me breakfast in bed? What’s this tie for? It’s all part of the ceremony–which I learned from my father. Now, being the Modern Dad that I am, I do openly mention that I am campaigning for Father of the Year when my children and I have a super special moment: be it riding the craziest ride at an amusement park (and not holding my lunch—that’s what dads do), surprising them with something their hearts desired, or simply offering the right words when they feel things have gone wrong.
While I can’t say I knew everything about my father, he was there every day and a lot of my discovery of who he was outside of his role was discovered by observations, by the stories he told, or through the tales of family. What I do know most about him was that he was there…everyday! When his car pulled up in the evening, time stopped momentarily, either to prepare to share something cool that happened in school or to get ready because something was broken or a report card…well, you know. But all in all, his coming through the door was more than an expectation, it was just part of nature, like taking your next breath. This is something I have created for my children.
Just as my job as a father is to help my children with the lessons of life, I learn everyday what being a father is all about. Sometimes the lessons come from my home. Other times it is from the observations of other fathers. Sometimes it is from fatherless children. In all of these lessons, I constantly evaluate and re-evaluate the kind of father I want to be and the model of a father I hope my children take with them.
I miss my father. He passed away 18 years ago, just as I was on the crest of a major phase of my life. Although there are times I wish I had his advice and guidance for career issues, with financial questions, and child rearing, the truth is that I already have the answers. His consistency in my life provided the blueprint needed for me to construct the kind of Father-ness I want for myself and children.
I know and understand that not every child is blessed to experience what I have experienced. I know that there are father’s out there who are not connected to their children. That is why I treasure what I have and make sure that when I am no longer on the scene my children will say, “That’s what Pops would say!” (Yes, that’s one of the many things they call me.)
Well, Sunday’s coming and it’s time to get ready for my close up…and I love it!
Happy Father’s Day!
Guy A. Sims is the author of the novel, Living Just A Little, and the crime novella, The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim. He is also the head writer of the Brotherman: Dictator of Discipline comic book series and the forthcoming Brotherman graphic novel, Revelation. BCEPressworks.com