Sunday, June 19, 2011

Being A Dad

My dad has no memory of his dad who was executed in the middle of the night when my dad was just 2.
Until he was 12ish, his life was spent on the road... running from Stalin's gang first, then Hilter's guys. It was his mom, her sisters and their kids, trekking across Europe for roughly 10 years until they finally stopped moving. They had landed in the Canadian prairies and set up homes.

When he turned 15, he dropped out of school, moved out of home and went to live/work on Hepner's Farm in some small Mennonite town in Manitoba, Winkler? Plum Couley? Morris? I can't remember. Not important. Mr. Hepner treated him like a son - he was part of the family. He lived there til he was 17 then he retired from farming forever. He gave his wages to his mom, she gave him money for a train ticket to BC. He met my 13 year old mom on his first Sunday at 43rd Street Church, declared he was going to marry her, and set about getting a job and preparing for his future.

What did he know about parenting?
What did he know about being a dad?
Who were his role models?
How in the world did he end up rocking the role?

Thanks dad, for being so loving. So attentive. So interactive. So crazy about us. Thanks for choosing always, to spend time with us. To play with us. To teach us. To invest in us. 
And then do the same, all over again, with your grandkids. 

I love you. 
And am sad that your brain is broken. 
But am happy that you're still with us.

I saw this article today, it's parenting advice from one hands-on dad to other, less involved dads:

1. No golf on weekends: Seriously, it's ludicrous. Your spouse is home with the kids all the time, and you think it's OK to take five hours on a weekend day to pursue your own pastime? Selfishness, thy name is Father.

2. Wake up: Literally, wake up. With your kids. On at least one of the two weekend days -- and perhaps both. I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard. And crazy. And (gasp!) sorta fun, if you'd just stop moping.

3. Change diapers: If you have little kids, and you don't know how to change diapers (or, even worse, refuse to change diapers), you're pathetic. That's no exaggeration -- p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. It's not all that hard, and though the poop sometimes winds up on the fingers, well, uh, yeah. It just does. Wash your hands.

4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails: How many fathers do I know who refuse to get girlish with their girls? Dozens. Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish. You'll make a friend for life -- and nobody else is watching.

5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.

6. Order the wife to bug off: I recently met a mother who told me her husband hadn't been alone with their 9-year-old daughter for more than two hours ... ever. Inexcusable. Let your wife do her own thing: relax, take a run, whatever. Entertain your children solo. They don't bite (Note: is not liable if your children do, in fact, bite).

7. Surprise! Just once, on a random day without meaning or purpose, show up early at your kid's school/camp/wherever, say "Get in the car!" and take him/her somewhere special. Just the two of you, alone. A movie. A park. A hike. The memory lasts -- I promise.

8. Dishes Don't Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It's amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.

9. Wake up your kid: Not often. But if you want to score big points and create a killer memory moment, walk in Junior's room at, oh, midnight, wake him/her up and go outside for 10 minutes to watch the stars.

10. For God's sake, tell your kids you love them: They'd probably like to know.

I have a feeling the author of this article could be good friends with Juniper's dad..."the other day I sat down with the kids and we wrote down two pages of ideas for stuff we want to do this summer."

Thank you to all the men out there who are investing their time, energy and resources in their children. The world is a better place for your efforts. Thank you...

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