Something happened to me when I became a father. Literally (and I hesitate to use that word given it’s frequent misuse) from one day to the next I started crying with a frequency and a force that took me by surprise.
To quote Jude Law’s character from the movie The Holiday, “A good book, a great film, a birthday card, I weep.” Well, I’m not that bad, but anytime that I think about my children growing up, entering into the world, enduring difficulties, injuries, rejections, sickness, addiction, etc. I weep.
And yet, I also cry when I have those euphoric and rare moments where time stops and I get to just enjoy them exactly as they are. Those fleeting seconds where they throw their heads back and laugh, or when their eyes grow wide in surprise or when on rare occasions, they fall asleep in my arms.
For me, it’s the entire reason we are here. That may sound like hyperbole or some thinly veiled religious sentiment, all of which are true in my case, but truly outside of any and all belief systems, I believe we exist to be parents.
It is the most confusing, complex and compelling challenge that I have ever faced. It stretches me, rewards me, scares me, and assures me every single day. It’s importance cannot be overstated, it’s impact can last for generations and yet, we receive little to no preparation for such a vital role.
But this is one thing I know: it’s all about showing up. And this month we are here to help, to take all of your toughest parenting questions and problems, and lean on experts to help us all be a little bit better at showing up. We promise a little effort here goes a long way and we know that many, if not all of you, are already incredible fathers. But let’s take this month and Father’s Day in particular as an opportunity to show up, and stand up as involved and committed fathers.
One last parting story.
The other day, my seven year old son had a major disappointment at school. It was a social matter, but he was feeling, for the first real time in his young life, very rejected. We talked about it as we drove home and I could see him trying to be strong, not to demonstrate any weakness and definitely not trying to cry. But those walls quickly crumbled as we pulled into the garage. He crawled into the front seat, onto my lap and I held him as we both cried, not really saying any words, just being there for him. I was very sure not to try and “fix it” as I so badly wanted to do, but instead just to listen, to love and to learn. It made all the difference for him, I know it, and it’s something I will never forget.
I showed up and I cried. Win - win.