This weekend marks my twentieth Father’s Day, and I’m not much into ties, tools, or trinkets. So, what do I want from my girls? These days, when people ask me that question, I tend to wax a bit philosophical. And that led me to these three ideas …
1. I want time to talk and laugh together.
With each passing year, I add a few more wrinkles and lose a bit more hair. Meanwhile, you’re becoming ever busier, ever more independent, ever more grown-up women. Under the circumstances, I’m increasingly aware that time is both precious and passing quickly.
With that awareness comes a growing appreciation for the time we spend together. And a realization that what we do with that time doesn’t really matter all that much—as long as we’re talking and laughing together.
We could be exploring the streets of Rome or walking the dogs in Ashburn. We could be seeing a show on Broadway or sitting on the floor swapping YouTube videos. We could be eating a four-course dinner or sharing a bag of cheese puffs. As long as we’re talking and laughing together, I’m basically content. Happiness, it turns out, is pretty much that simple.
2. I want to stay connected.
Once upon a time, I was your playmate. Later, I was your coach and/or your biggest fan. In certain respects, I’m still each of these things. But as you get older, you’re naturally out on your own more, spending time with friends I don’t really know, working on projects in which I’m not really involved, pursuing your own interests.
I don’t have to know all of the details of your life. I realize it’s probably best if I don’t. But I do want to stay involved. I want to know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. I want to be a friend and a trusted advisor, in addition to being your father. I want to share in your triumphs and also your tribulations.
I have plenty to offer, I promise. Including this …
3. I want you to know, with absolute certainty, that you’re loved just as you are.
Most importantly, I want you to feel with rock-solid sureness that you are unconditionally, unremittingly loved. Not for anything you do or don’t do. Just because you are who you are—a ray of light, my fairy princess, and also a fallible human being like the rest of us. (Please note that you don’t have to be perfect to be a wondrous being.)
There are times when I try to push each of you forward, when I correct or direct or edit you. There are times when I may even get frustrated or angry. What can I say? I’m your father. That’s part of the job description. Rest assured that, when I do, I’m trying to lift you up not bring you down.
Beyond these moments, I hope you’ll always feel enough love and support behind you to go out into the world and take on any challenge without hesitation. You never have to try to be something you aren’t, but you’re free to try to be all you can be. Because you’re always going to be loved and cherished, no matter how it all works out in the end.
And in the end, that’s the basic recipe for having it all work out. Trust me. I know. I’m a father with two decades of experience. And that’s basically what I want. Along with a cold beer and a soccer game on TV. We can talk and laugh while we watch.
I love you,