Biology teaches us that nearly any man can become a father, but that’s not a reason to celebrate Father’s Day. Father’s Day is reserved for the dads that pump their fist in victory when their child learns to master riding a bike or overcome their fear of water, or learns a new skill. It’s for the dads that laugh with delight as they watch the “plays” their kids put on for him when they’re young, or feel their hearts swell with pride when their child graduates from high school, college, or beyond.
Fatherhood is not without its challenges, though. There are many ups and downs, twists and turns, and bumps and bruises along the way, but they are, more often than not, overshadowed by the special moments. I can clearly remember the expression on the waiter’s face when my then 3 year old insisted on ordering a salad with blue cheese dressing rather than the chicken fingers he was proposing; and the time a few years later when my middle child told a nurse that she needed to eat her broccoli before she could take her medicine or eat her ice cream. Nor could I ever forget the quick wit of my youngest when she was a teenager.*
I can’t help but smile as I think of those days long ago and how my kids have grown into the incredible adults they turned out to be. Anne Geddes once observed that, “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” I would argue that “it takes someone special to turn their father into a dad.” I’ve been blessed thrice over.
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*When my kids were relatively young, I attempted to take them to the Dallas zoo. Google maps and Waze had not yet been invented, and with unabashedly zero directional skills, I drove in circles for hours trying to find the zoo that was less than 30 minutes from our home. I never did find it, but we enjoyed several stops at, what turned out to be, the same Wendy’s. Many years later, I needed to take a business trip to Oklahoma and asked my youngest to join me. As I drove around aimlessly searching for my destination, she spotted a building up the road and quickly exclaimed, “dad, you found the zoo!” It was the Oklahoma City Zoo.