A Proud Moment
It came on Father’s Day.
I tell the kids, every year, that I don’t really need anything. Nor do I really want it.
“We know,” they tell us. “Because when you need something you just go get it. That’s annoying because we never know what to get you!”
I understand, I go through the same things with my own parents.
This year, though, they were all excited to give me a present. I had no idea what they were thinking . . . and then Sunday morning my daughter, when she woke up, came out into the kitchen with a bag in her hands. I put down whatever news article I was reading and smiled.
The card had a Dad holding two kids upside down, looking exhausted, and coffee cups on either side steaming. It was the typical humorous Father’s Day sentiment.
But inside they’d written a note. “We would never be as happy as we are if you hadn’t done all you have for us. We wouldn’t be where we are without you.”
They added that they were sorry we weren’t all together on Father’s Day, but knew we’d talk. I opened the bag and in it was that cup.
This isn’t a simple thing. The basic cup was one they bought . . . but my oldest daughter got ceramic paint and they all signed it and wrote on it. You might think “yeah, every kid does something like that” but it’s usually at school or whatever. Someone gives them the project. This was of their own volition and they made it for me. They had to use the oven as a kiln and they were all crossing their fingers it would work.
I’ve used the cup for my morning coffee – a necessity for me – every morning since I got it. I feel the raised letters of the date on the handle and trace my thumb over the names and writing and feel it against my fingerprint and I am very proud of the fact that they took the time to make this. I could have gotten an expensive guitar or some new electronic gizmo and it would have had nowhere near the soft part of my heart that this simple little cup does. I was going to take it to work . . . but I’d rather have it at home and enjoy those quiet moments in the morning drinking it.
But the day didn’t end there. I spent a good portion of it running around. I tend to stay off social media on the weekends, that’s my time with the kids or cleaning or getting things accomplished the work week can’t relinquish the time to do. I had to get some new pants and Abbi went with to make sure I didn’t buy clothes that looked bad or clashed. (I’m a guy, after all. I have my fashion limitations)
Late in the day I saw that my daughter had tagged me in a Facebook post.
“Happy Fathers’ Day to the man who inspired me to realize that nothing is out of my reach if I work hard enough. He taught me to ask for the impossible and believe with my whole heart that I can actually achieve it. I love you dad, you’re the reason I’m on this path and I never would have gotten the courage to choose it without you.”
She also put one of my favorite photos of her as a tiny little girl . . . which I have loved since my wife took it:
I hope to send the message that as long as you are armed with the knowledge and the ethic to work as hard as you can…that you can succeed. It doesn’t mean you’ll always get it right or do the right thing or even stray now and then from the path you want to take. I want my kids to be successful, sure, but successful in what they want for their lives. The time we spend perched on the surface of this planet is short and life is really what we make of it.
It also made me realize that when I preach this I should practice it, too, so I have been organizing my own musical material and putting together grant proposals for a documentary. If I’ve given my kids the courage to take on their own convictions I can have the courage of my own convictions, too.
But at the end of the day I was happy and proud . . . because I got my first glimpse that I was doing at least something right!