In my glorious days of being the abusive, neglectful, oblivious, selfish tyrant.... It was always about me. Not that I am completely perfect, or assume I am even close. But now I am aware of how my attitude and actions affected my family. ( Again. Becoming a better man. Not there, yet. ) Every conversation, every decision, every plan, every choice was made based on how it affected me. It all had to benefit me. Yep. I was convinced that I was king of this castle and all my loyal subjects existed for me. I was trained, thanks to slightly twisted theology, to believe that my wife was less than me. Her purpose was to serve and support me and my never ending trail of stupid ideas. Like Jim Carrey said in the series of unfortunate events movie.... All I ask is that you do each and every thing that pops into my head. I didn't see it, of course. It seemed perfectly logical, even beneficial. But not quite right. All the pressure of the family fell to my wife. All the pressure of making big decisions, paying bills, grilling meat, mowing grass; those fell to me. Grunt, grunt. Funny how that works. All the pressure I had, would have been there even if I was single. All the pressure she had only existed within the family we created. Hmmmmm. So anyway, as said before, I have been a jerk. A jerk with good intentions, but still a jerk.
So what about Father's Day? How will it be different? I no longer see my family as subjects, or nuisances, or baggage, or whatever degrading term fits. They don't exist to serve and obey me. Every Father's Day, I have had expectations of them rushing to my side with extravagant gifts. I expected them to go out of their way to make me meals, bring me offerings, do special displays of affection, generally treat me like the king I thought I was. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER DAY OF THE YEAR!!!! If it didn't live up to my expectations, I complained or pouted or sulked. Don't just look at me. Look at yourself, too. You do it. Admit it. If anyone doesn't live up to our expectations, or completely satisfy us, or give us the respect we think we deserve... we complain, sulk and pout. We make that late night push for sympathy or compassion, hoping our wives will coddle us like toddlers and give us something to make it all better. Waaaah. Just like a toddler. Immature, selfish, spoiled, demanding and unappreciative. I confess it. I own it. That has been me, most of my married life.
It will be different this year. I already told the family that I want nothing. Do not spend a penny on me. No gift. No effort on their part, just mine. I want this Father's Day to be a chance for me to just be with them and reassure my family that I love them and want to be with them. Want to. Not have to, should, need to, etc. I want to be with them. They are different to me this year. They matter. Their needs are more important than mine. Their time is more valuable than mine. I exist to serve and care for them. My purpose in life is to love my family and make life good for them. To make their world a joyful place. To teach them that love is not selfish. Love means they are my priority. They are more important than anything else. When they need me, I move. When they want something, I move. When something appears to be a threat or problem for them, I move. They have to know that every minute of the day, I choose them over everything else. All the things I have been awful at for most of my life.
So, the plan is to spend the day together. Doing things that they want to do. Just being with them. We are hoping to make a road trip and see the kids who didn't move with us, and hopefully our parents. Hopefully. Whether we can or not, I just want to be with them. I want my kids to live without any doubts about how much they are loved. I don't always do it right. Sometimes I am overbearing, embarrassing, overprotective or just outright stupid. But, they will not be able to ever consider the thought that daddy doesn't love them.
To my kids, who may actually read this one day, I love you. You are my heart and soul. You are wonderful. You are the ones who give my life purpose. You are all the best part of me. You are loved. To my dad, in case he ever reads this... You are a good man. You were no different from me. You made bad decisions and learned the hard way. You struggled with all the same crap I struggle with. But, you have come around, too. I see it, my kids see it. You have matured and become a good man that I am proud to call my father. Thank you for being the good man you are. I love you. And, to my wife, who will probably read this..... You are still the best thing that has ever happened to me. Thank you for allowing me the privilege and opportunity to be a husband and father. Thank you for spending the last 8,576 days of your life as my wife. Thank you for giving me another chance to be your husband. A chance I did not deserve. I love you. Thank you, so much. Thank you for another Father's Day with you and the kids.
I honestly expect this to be the best Father's Day ever. Let me know how yours turns out. Love to hear about it.