Monday, August 29, 2005

Those Special Dad Moments

"Daddy, thanks for taking me for a ride. I am really having a fun, special time with you." With those words, my son Zachary made my Sunday morning and ultimately my life! We had just stopped for a break from the hike and bike trail that we had been riding our bikes on. It was an unusual morning, not yet hot, a slight breeze that actually raised a bump or two on my back.

We had ridden the entire trail down to this little man made lake a few miles from our house. We were atop a dam overlooking the lake when my six and half year old son climbed up on the railing that I was leaning on and gave me a hug and a smile. Time seemed to stand still for that instant as if my mind was taking a snap shot that would encase this memory for all eternity. With his bright little personality and those words, my life in that moment seemed just about as full as it could be.

We all, I suspect, have moments like this when something completely unexpected happens and it will be forever engrained in our minds. I find myself having those moments more and more lately as I come to appreciate the role of being a "Dad." I have spent my entire life trying to be something that I thought everyone else expected me to be. But in those instances where life pulls a fast one and kicks you in the heart, it is then you are reminded that all the money, success or other material aspects we all challenge ourselves to gain, pale in comparison to those moments like the one I had just yesterday.

My sons are just about the most amazing people that I have ever met. They bring joy to my heart when often I have to struggle to remember I have one. I spend all my waking hours trying to find a way to make their lives better so they can in turn be happy, healthy and without much care in the world. But it's moments like yesterday that remind me just how many more of those moments I have likely missed because "Daddy is too busy. Stop bothering me. Not now!"

I believe yesterday was very much a wake up call for me. It was a reminder that time is a precious gift and it isn't to be wasted. It's spending those mornings watching your son peddle his little legs off just to keep up and those smiles when he knows he is. It's those comments about fish jumping in the waters below and the comments about "gee, they must be hungry this morning." Its those precious little hugs and those soft little kisses that remind us that we are alive and for just a moment in the eyes of a child, the most important person in the world.

Yes, it is times like these that make us appreciate all that we have and what are here to offer. I appreciate the fact that it takes a Special Dad Moment to make me realize just how treasurable those moments really are and how thirsty I am to have more.

Ripple On!


Rich said...

After reading your book, I found this blog to be of particular interest to me. Unlike you I was not smart enough to question my Dad about life. I really regret that. My boys and I used to refer to him as Yoda, partly because of age, but more out of respect for his silent knowledge.

The Yoda thing started after he came to visit me in Houston. I took him to a wresting match. We were in about the third row from ring side. During the match the two guys in front of us got up on their chairs, which made it difficult for us to see. I was thinking that I needed to ask them to get down. But, I delayed my acting because I was thinking that I would either be blown off or it would start a fight. Dad (Yoda) stood up and tapped one of them on the shoulder and very simply and calmly said "If you will sit down then we can all see!" The expression on the guy's face was as one of "but of course master!" He quickly told his buddy and they both sat down and did not get up the rest of the evening.

It is great being a Dad. My goal is to be as good a dad to my boys as my dad was to me. I have had many great times and many defining moments. Some good, like this morning teaching the 12 year old how to serve in tennis. Some times have been challenging. Helping my boys get through tough times in their lives, just being there for them and reminding them that they were loved and that they could always count on me, has also been very rewarding. So as not to embarrass them, I will not give specifics, as one is a Marine Captain and the other is an Army Staff Sergeant, both of who have seen action overseas. I know that real men don’t need support and don’t cry, but if they did, it is great being there for them.

There are few words is this world that are more cherished to me than "Thanks Dad!"

Steve Harper said...

That is such a great post Rich. Thank you for sharing it!!!!

the garage guy said...

steve, i recently spent 8 months working on a project from home, though i suppose the reality is that i was trying to make the best of being unemployed! now that i'm back to work (with the added bonus of still working the project i previously started) i am finding that i really miss the time that i spent with my kids. i'm pretty sure they miss it too.
your post sort of reminded me how good that time felt. hopefully i can find a way to work from home again before i miss too much!


Rose DesRochers said...

Steve, children are wonderful. They bring so much join to our lives. I can't imagine life without my children.