In less than 4 hours on the Saturday before this Father’s Day the following occurred:
- I picked up my youngest son’s bike from the shop, where the flat tire was repaired, and we added a suspension fork to make riding more comfortable and fun;
- The AAA guy came by, broke into our car, where the only key had been locked in by one of our teenage drivers who was in a hurry rushing to the next thing and got locked out with all their stuff in the vehicle (we made this young driver tip the AAA guy for his help);
- Cheered on my son in a championship game where he had some great rebounds, a put-back shot, and won the tournament with his awesome team;
- Paid for multiple flights of one child headed out of the country to end the summer doing humanitarian trips.
This is the opposite of what our lives were like a decade ago, when they were 7, 6, 5, and 1. Those were days of diapers, crawling all over us at all hours, snot, eye goobers, laughter, playdates, binkies covered in sand and hair, parks, endless sunscreen, RV trips, wonder and excitement, every meal around the table, and a constant togetherness.
Now it is late nights with friends, team sports, trying to download the app to pay for the overpriced team sports, trips to far off destinations, driving our cars into other cars, summer jobs, relationships and drama, begging for anyone to wear sunscreen, inside jokes, laughing about the past, thrift shopping, movie premieres of homemade blockbusters, seeing friends leave on missions, asking our kids to turn on “Find My Phone”, and once in a while we all get to eat dinner together.
It is fascinating how different this stage is from back then.
They are all wonderful stages of life.
Time is passing by so quickly, it is terrifying to realize what will be in a decade from now, as we are together so little now, even living under the same roof…even though they are still children.
But if you ever want to see tears flood from my eyes, just have me look at photos of us when we were on a roadtrip packing these kids in a motorhome, recalling the absolute difficulty it was, and equally the greatest memories a dad can have in looking back on an epic adventure that was completely unreasonable, unaffordable, but knew must happen at that time or never would.
I’m so grateful we did what we did when we could.
No doubt the photos from this year will, in a decade, bring even more tears of gratitude and the question, “Daddy, why did you age so quickly?” To which I will respond, “Son, I’m not sure…but I know as teenagers you guys could have gotten full-time jobs as Navy Seal trainers with what you demanded we endure daily…”
I am thankful for a wife who holds this all together, is the steady hand and cool head in the joyful hurricane that is our every day and late nights.
I am still trying to find the balance between my natural disposition of disciplinarian (yes, for those who don’t know me well, that is just how I am), and being a “fun dad”, which is harder for me to be, despite Daddy Dinosaur quasi-fame and the like.
The Promise is to BE PRESENT.
To be ready when they are, to listen, and then listen more.
To talk when the timing is right…I’m still working on it.
To be ready for a hug or shoulder to cry on when needed.
I’m like a relief pitcher as a dad, who gets to come into the game if and when needed, but always ready to roll when asked, if asked at all.
I may save the game, or may pitch a flubber and watch them hit it out of the park, as I hang my head in shame. But I’m willing to play both roles, the hero or villain…I never expected it would be that way.
Equally, I’m the owner of the team, working hard to make the money and keep things going, who gets cheered or booed by those in the stadium, even for doing what I feel is best for the team. Mommy is the manager and coach, keeping all personalities in check, leading us to victory – thank goodness she’s a great one!
I am just so grateful to be a Dad, even though it’s crazy hard, crazy joyful, and the ultimate endurance test.
I have friends who have said they wouldn’t subject bringing a child into this world, since it is so cruel and difficult. I understand that reasoning. I can also say there is and never has been anything more rewarding, terrifying, wonderful, and beautiful as bringing a child into this world.
I love being a Dad. I don’t know if I’m a good one, although I know I was raised by a great one, and hope to carry that on, the effort & Promise is to BE PRESENT in a time of epic distraction and the game of vying for our attention.
As I say in my presentations:
I PROMISE to keep making this effort to BE PRESENT, Listen & Learn.
Happy Father’s Day to those who are both father figures as mentors, and leaders in the home to the precious little ones. May your day be filled with Promise and happiness. There is no greater joy than this, that of being a father, dad, and being a part of the lives of your favorite people.
~ Jason Hewlett
Husband, Father, Writer, Mentor, Hiker
- Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer * Coach & Mentor
- World’s Only Keynote Speaker utilizing entertainment, musical impressions, and comedy to teach The Promise
- Author of “The Promise To The One”