Fatherhood

I was born the day before Father’s Day 32 years ago — a firstborn child. And, because of that, I guess I was the first Father’s Day gift my dad received.

Fatherhood is funny thing. It turns a man who is well-respected at work, considered to be intelligent by his colleagues and clever by his friends into a complete idiot. Tim Russert, Mark Twain and Charles Wadsworth have all commented on this phenomenon. Twain’s quote is my favorite – “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

I’m not a father yet, but I’m already beginning to see that mine isn’t nearly as stupid as he used to be. It’s just like Tim Russert said — “The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” I fully believe Charles Wadsworth’s prediction will come true for me – “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”

That’s OK though. I’ll have the wisdom, strength and legacy of my own father to back me up when my kids roll their eyes at my utter incompetence. I imagine I’ll have to hold back a chuckle as I remember what a moron my dad was when I was my kids’ age.

Every year, on my birthday, my Dad writes me a letter. The one he wrote on my 30th birthday was especially touching; and I can’t think of anything more fitting than to include a few of his thoughts as I close this post.

He wrote, “The relationship of a father and his son is like iron sharpening iron. Sparks may fly and talks get heated and ideas fleshed out, but, in the end, the father wears the honor of gray hairs and the son the legacy of his father’s heart.”