When recently watching a father play with his small child, it occurred to me that while I’ll always be a father and hope to remain a “dad,” I’m not a “daddy” any more and I kinda miss that. My kids will turn 20 and 18 this year. They’re adults. They rely on me still, of course, but don’t really need me. No more seeking protection by my side; arms thrown skyward indicating a need to be picked up or climbing into bed between my wife and me during a thunderstorm. Their love remains unconditional, but it’s much less overt and obvious than it used to be. They have real, established lives that don’t involve me and, in some sense are more important than the decreasing portion of their lives they share with their father.
Nothing too sad, here. This is how happy and successful lives as parents work. I’m really, really lucky. My kids have grown in to terrific people and I have a blast spending time with them. I love them and I’m tremendously proud of both of them. My relationship with them is different now, but in its own way, it’s just as rewarding as it was at any time of our lives together. I’m going to work at remaining “dad” to them and relish every minute of it. Someday – hopefully a while from now – the need I have to be “daddy” will be fulfilled when I become a grandparent (yikes!).
For all of you that are still “daddies,” have a blast on Daddy’s Day today. Personally, I’m going to enjoy my Dad’s Day.