I started to write something this morning and then didn’t. I started to write something after church, but didn’t. I’m now avoiding finishing the yard work. It is a good incentive to write. Since it is Father’s Day, I guess I should write about that.
I have now been a dad longer than I had a dad. That seems weird. I had a dad for 18 years. It’s now been 30 years since he died. I won’t spend a lot of time dwelling on that. I will, instead, write about being a dad.
I’ve written a lot about my job both in random posts and in my series of posts about being a jailbrarian. My most important job has nothing to do with a library. When I retire in 8 years I will no longer be a librarian. A few years after that the library world won’t even remember my name. My most important job is being a dad. Being a dad is a lifelong commitment. Being a dad means being remembered, hopefully in a good way. I may be an average, forgettable librarian, but I like to think I have been and continue to be an above average dad.
I’ve done my best to always be there for my kids. I’ve coached baseball and basketball. I’ve spent hours at a dance studio. I even learned to dance and then danced in front of hundreds of people at my daughter’s dance recital. I’ve chaperoned field trips, volunteered in the classroom and hosted numerous play dates. I’m not a perfect dad. I’ve been impatient and angry with my kids. There are times when I was happy to send them off to spend time with their grandparents so I could get a break. I do think, though, that even in the worst of times my kids knew that I loved them.
My kids are now 21 and 17. Both are very good students. Both decided to get a job to earn their own money while in high school. Both have spent time on church mission trips helping others. If people judge me based on how my kids turned out, I think I will look pretty good(with the exception of passing a weird sense of humor on to my daughter).
I may not be remembered for anything else in my life, but if I’m only remembered for being the best dad possible, I can live with that.
I knew it was coming soon. My son rented a house with friends this year so he was officially completely moved out last July. He leaves on Sunday for New York for five weeks for his summer internship. Today was my daughter’s last day of her junior year of high school. She got her driver’s license last week. I knew I was a year away from an empty nest. Today, my daughter starts a part-time job. She just headed out for her training shift. That means I will start to get a taste of the empty nest soon.
The big change for me will be the first couple of hours after I arrive home from work. I typically arrive home by around 5:30. My wife typically gets home around 7:30. For a while, some of that time was filled with trips to the dance studio. The last couple of years it has meant cooking dinner and watching TV with my daughter. Monday nights we watch John Oliver(recorded from Sunday). Other nights we might watch other random shows that we have recorded over the past weeks. The one standard is that we watch Jeopardy at 7. My wife doesn’t understand why we like the show so much. I’m surprised my daughter likes it. We watch, comment on the contestants and yell out our answers(not in the form of a question). With her at work several nights a week, I will have to watch Jeopardy alone. I’ve done it before. It’s just not as fun when no one else sees how smart(or dumb) you are.
It sounds small, but it is a harbinger of things to come. Today it is a part-time job. Soon it will be college. Soon the nest will actually be empty and I will have many hours home alone. I guess I will be reading a lot more books soon. Who am I kidding? I will probably spend the alone time watching TV shows my wife won’t watch and posting stupid stuff on Facebook.
I am watching the news and once again they were discussing this story http://www.wbaltv.com/news/20124542/detail.html about three kids who were arrested for stealing. The kids were stealing several items from a neighbor’s garage and were handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention when caught. The parents are outraged that their kids were treated this way. I don’t understand this outrage. The kids committed a crime. When you commit a crime, you go to jail. That’s the way life works. It’s better the kids learn this now and maybe get scared away from doing it again rather than getting away with it and deciding to do it again. If these were my kids I would want them to be handcuffed and taken to jail. I want them to see what happens when you break the law. It’s better to try to scare this behavior out of them early rather than wait until later when the crimes have escalated into something more serious. These parents need to wake up and see this was a good thing instead of sending their kids the message that the police are in the wrong here instead of them.