Each year, Father’s Day means something different to me. I can remember back to a few years ago, right before my first daughter was born, I looked at Father’s Day with a good amount of trepidation. It wasn’t that I had regrets about becoming a dad, but I knew that once Father’s Day rolled around I would have to put on the “proud dad” hat. It wasn’t a hat that I ever saw myself wearing simply because I didn’t think that I was old enough to be considered a “real” father. When Father’s Day finally arrived, I fully embraced it and took as many “Happy Father’s Day” remarks as I could. The weirdest part about all of it was when my own father said it to me. I immediately realized how being a father made me appreciate my own father even more.
I used to celebrate Father’s Day in non-traditional fashion. My wife and I left the kids in the care of some friends, while we vacationed to the Ozarks. I only say “non-traditional” because I never imagined spending Father’s Day away from my children. However, the experience taught me so much about not only being a father, but being an individual. I read a quote a few years ago that went something like this: “The one thing that fatherhood will always remind you of is that your children will never be you and you will never be able to live their life for them.” To me, that means that even if you have a child, you should never lose sight of your own identity.
I have conversations with both expecting parents and non-parents who seem to think that their life is over just because they’re bringing another life into the world. Most of you already know how far from the truth that really is. In fact, you should expect your identity to swell after you have children. It improves your drive and increases your concern for your own well-being. Plus, I found that you’ll only drive yourself insane if you don’t nurture your hobbies and spend some time away from the family from time-to-time. For instance, one weekend a month, a few of my buddies and I pick a city where a great band is playing. Then, we’ll spend the entire weekend in that city—child free. Next month, we’re actually all going to France with our spouses and while we’re there, we’ll be checking out The Black Keys.
Now, don’t get me wrong, on Father’s Day, I do like being showered with the affection and presents of my children. I’m a huge fan of birthdays because I love receiving gifts, so you could imagine the expectations I have for Father’s Day. Right now my kids aren’t exactly old enough to pick out gifts for me, so I usually just put the request in to my wife and they present it to me. This year, I’ve already asked for the Bose Soundlink Bluetooth II that Verizon Wireless actually recommends specifically for Father’s Day. I hoped to have already installed a full speaker system in my house and on the back deck, but I haven’t gotten around to it. So, because I’ll be doing a lot of yard work this summer, it would be nice to have a quality speaker to take outside with me. Like I said, each year, Father’s Day means something different. We’re going to make this year about pumping up the volume.
Guest author bio:
Jared Harris is a father of two and recent college grad. When he’s not juggling work and his family life, you can find him playing his favorite albums in his man-cave. Follow him here – @JaredRHarris
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