Happy Father’s Day Dads! It will come as no great shock that my family spent some of the holiday playing baseball — a practice and a game today– and Wilson was happy to oblige.
Wilson is a good man. It’s important when you’re raising three boys (ages 8, 11, and 14) to have a strong role model and I feel extremely lucky that my sons have Wilson for a father. They probably won’t realize what a gift that is until they grow up and have their own children.
But I can see it clearly now so thought I’d share some of the reasons he’s a great dad…..
— He has the patience of a saint. Unlike me, he so rarely yells at the boys, no matter what shenanigans they’re up to. It’s humbling (and frankly annoying sometimes) but admirable.
— He’s still reading parenting books. When our oldest, Jacob, was born, I used to tease Wilson because he literally carried his baby Bible: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child around from room to room, looking up every squeak, cry, and bodily function. (He was a bit of a nervous nelly back then.) But that guy is still reading parenting books, to better understand every stage our kids are going through as it’s happening. He takes his parenting job seriously.
— He gives great advice. When my boys have a problem they know their dad will listen and help them work through it. It’s not always “Leave it to Beaver”-style problem-solving– there are often loud protests and tears involved– but my kids know that dad will persevere through the theatrics and find a solution or way of handling a tough situation. And even in the quiet moments when there is no issue to tackle, he’ll make a point to tell them something he’s learned about his choices and experiences.
— He’s a wonderful coach. Wilson has been unofficially coaching our boys in all sports since they could walk. But despite a heavy professional workload, he manages to assistant coach their baseball teams every spring and summer, coming home early from the office, devoting scores of Saturdays, even donning tight polyester pants for tournaments. He emphasizes sportsmanship and fun over winning, and never misses an opportunity to teach a lesson from a loss.
— He’s not nearly as embarrassing as I am. Adolescence has hit big time for our 8th grader and I have become a target of ridicule and irritation. Everything I do or say elicits eye rolls and gasps of disgust. Yet somehow, Wilson has escaped our teen’s ire and remains a neutral figure.
— He’s affectionate and communicative. Sometimes it’s hard for men to show love, but Wilson hugs and kisses the boys easily and often. He tells them he loves them so regularly that they say it back without even thinking. These aren’t just Hallmark moments, this is an essential life skill he’s passing onto them that will make them better boyfriends, husbands, and fathers themselves. I think he learned it from his dad, who still gives great big bear hugs and sloppy kisses to his 40-something year old kid.
— He embraces all of his children’s flaws. I’m not sure if he’s so blinded by love and loyalty that he doesn’t see the boys’ warts, or if he consciously chooses to look past them. But when our most stubborn, defiant child is acting up, he refuses to let anger and frustration override compassion. When our most manipulative child finds back doors and sneaks through dirty alleys to get what he wants, Wilson commends his ingenuity and tenacity. When our most dramatic child overreacts to something small, or fans his ego with false praise, Wilson humors him.
I’m grateful that Wilson is all these things because he’s helping make three little mensches to send into the world.
As I read through this, I realize I’m putting this guy on a pretty high parenting pedestal. But fatherhood (like motherhood) can be a thankless job, and you rarely get a review or a raise. So consider this Wilson’s annual review. He deserves a promotion but I bet he’d think there’s no better title than dad.