We're enjoying our long weekend at the lake! There's been lots of this, and this, and I even banished all thoughts of leeches and snapping turtles and who knows what else and lowered myself into the murky water. I also forgot that lakes come with boats, and my kids were besides themselves with joy when we went for a late night-pre-bedtime boat ride.
There are definitely some perks that come with this whole vacation-at-the-lake business.
Even if our windows don't overlook the Atlantic, there's something peaceful and soul-filling about gazing out at a flat, shimmery lake, in the morning. The kids are enjoying every single minute of their time here so far, and that's making our stay here worth its weight in gold.
On Father's Day every year I think about how grateful I am that I have both a great dad myself, and that I married a man who turned out to be a pretty amazing, patient, dedicated, sensitive father. Because it can be a lottery, really, that works both ways. There's no way to tell, beyond a shadow of a doubt, when you commit to someone, how he or she will turn out as a parent; how they will ride the ups and downs, face the challenges, rise to the unexpected.
Not long ago I was talking with a girlfriend, who has a friend who got divorced a few years after she and her husband had their first child: a daughter. The friend just couldn't get past her disappointment in her husband as a father. Maybe this is harsh, maybe he would have turned into a good parent, maybe he needed some time to grow into his own style of parenting, to age into it, like a cask of wine. But the story made me think about how important it is in any marriage or partnership with children that your partner become the kind of parent you hoped they would be--and more importantly, that they bring out the best in you too as a parent.
Father's Day is a funny holiday. All the stops are always pulled out for Mother's Day--a holiday that the advertising industry would have us believe is traditionally all about pampering, breakfasts-in-bed, chocolates, dinner out, some spa time. But when you browse the Father's Day card section of most stores certain themes rise to the forefront: golf, beer, fishing, tools, belching. What are you supposed to do for the dads in your life on Father's Day? Give them the day off to golf? Pack them off on a fishing trip with the guys? Buy them some beer? And while you would never, ever, god forbid see a humorous Mother's Day card out there about farts or beer bellies or poor fashion choices, these types of cards abound this time of the year. I think the advertising industry doesn't quite know what to do with dads. Is he the breadwinner? The Mr. Fix-It in the household? The Protector? The endearing, clumsy, Mr. Mom?
I don't know what what the best definition of "Dad" might be, or what Father's Day might mean to everyone. But I do know what it means to me. I know that much like Mother's Day, it's a day when I feel lucky--lucky I married a man who is not only my friend and my rock, but one of the best fathers I know. I feel lucky to have my dad on this earth still, and to have still the gift of time to spend with him.
Happy (late) Father's Day to all those wonderful dads out there.