What I’d Like to Tell My Dad this Father’s Day

I’d like to tell my dad that there are really two definitions of a father. There is a father: a biological, DNA-dictated parent of a child. 

And then, on the other hand, there is a dad: someone who drives you home after your tonsils are taken out, one hand on the steering wheel and the other rubbing your back as you puke onto the car floor that he keeps so meticulously clean. 

A dad is someone who has that nickname only he calls you. It’s sacred. It doesn’t even matter what it is–whether it’s predictable or random or totally embarrassing–when you think of that nickname, you could only ever hear it said in your dad’s voice. 

A dad is someone who was there on the sidelines of every single one of your early morning cross country meets in high school, even though it was possibly the most boring spectator sport you could have chosen to participate in. 

He was there to be the first one to tell you how pretty you looked before your senior prom. He was there to listen as you questioned your major in college. And again for the second time. 

A dad is someone who answers your phone call at 6 in the morning when you can’t start your car before work, and your dad is the one who gets choked up the first time he hears the words, “You’re going to be a grandpa.” 

I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by good fathers for my entire life. I’m a 32-year-old adult woman who still sees my own dad as an almost comic book level of super hero. My father-in-law has become one of my biggest support systems, sending me encouraging text messages whenever he can tell I’m stressed (and because he is so caring, he can always tell when I’m stressed). It’s a privilege that I became most keenly aware of when I watched my own husband become the father I always wanted my children to have. 

A mom’s job is all-encompassing. You are always needed. There will always be times when you  feel stretched so thin you feel you might break. And whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a working mom, a work-from-home mom… it’s hard no matter what. Having a partner who steps into the role of dad helps lighten the load of motherhood, and we are so grateful for those fathers who have stepped up to the plate. 

So this Father’s Day, I want to tell my dad–and all dads–a few reasons why we are so thankful for them. 

Dads make life fun.

From April Fool’s Day pranks to impromptu water gun fights to their general mischief, we are lucky to have someone who brings such uninhibited joy into our lives. And if we’re being honest, the dad jokes really do make us laugh.

Dads help us to be brave.

They took the training wheels off. They pushed us higher on the swing. As we got older, they encouraged us to try out for that team, audition for that play, interview for that job. 

He’s there for us.

Whether it’s your first broken heart or your first W2 form, dads have a way of being there for us when we need them most. He masters the art of knowing when to step back and let us try on our own, and being there to help us get back up when we fall. 

He sets the bar.

A dad shows his children how to treat your partner in a relationship. He makes sure we could never settle in our own relationships because we know what we deserve. He shows his children that there is nothing embarrassing about buying tampons, and that changing diapers or doing the dishes is as much dad’s job as it is mom’s. 

Dads teach some of the best life lessons.

And often, they do it simply by example. They teach us to work hard, stick to your goals, and to make time for doing the things that make you happy. Some of them taught us how to grill, or how to jump start a car, or how to dribble a basketball. Some of our dads taught us about music, or about the best books, or about how important it is to spend time outdoors. Whatever the life lessons are that you have learned from your dad, they will stick with you for a lifetime. 

We are so thankful to the fathers who step into the role of Dad every single day, and wish all of our dads a Happy Father’s Day!

One comment

  • Great article that brought a tear to my eye! As someone who didn’t have a very strong relationship with my dad, it has been such a gift to see what a loving and present father my husband is to our kids. Each parent brings different strengths to the family and our kids get to see a supportive partnership in action. Just this weekend, we were car shopping for with our teen daughter; he was focused on reliability and new tires. I was into the heated seats and the financials. 🙂

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