I don’t know where it all goes.
They were here yesterday, soft and playful. Running around the house all day. Needing me. Not for the important stuff. Mom is always there for that. But for games and feats of strength. To reach things up high. Carry them upstairs to bed. Tell them stories. Just be there. Good old, trusty Dad.
Years have passed while I worked, ate, slept, and paid bills. Now, my son drives. Drops off his younger sister at middle school and then shuttles himself down the road to the high school. My kids live lives outside the home. Academics. Athletics. They’re getting smarter and stronger. Engaging in experiences that sharpen senses, develop skills, grow awareness, and deepen hearts. Establishing independence. So, these days, I am a tree or statue. Maybe a rock, I’m not sure. Sometimes they acknowledge me.
My daughter, “Dad, can you open this jar for me?”
My son, “Dad, the car won’t start.”
In these moments, I suddenly feel heroic. I catapult off the couch or spring up from my basement office to assist.
You need olives? I got that! Twist and pop!
Looks like the lights were left on, buddy. Let me show you how to jumpstart it.
My role is changing and my experiences as Dad, as a person, are evolving. Of course, my kids are always going to need me, but the whole point is to nurture, educate, and love them as best I can so they don’t. They are supposed to get out there into the wild, get better at living, and put more good into the world than bad.
My Dad job’s not done. It’s not one I’ll ever retire from. But now, some of my energy can be focused elsewhere. I get to continue my learning and my growth and have as much fun as I can until I can’t reach the top shelf. Open jars. Remember how to start the car. Or until I need to be picked up and carried upstairs to bed.