I heard a great quote a while back, and I don’t know who said it, but it’s stuck with me. It was, “Children expect to be loved by their mothers. Being loved by your father is a privilege.”
It makes sense. A mother’s love and a father’s love are different. And men and women think differently about their roles as parents. I’m no sociologist, but I’m somebody’s daughter-I have a great mom and a great dad. And yeah, I expected my mom to love me. I expected her to always be there. Luckily for me, she was. My relationship with her was the first one I ever had. But my father’s love was important to me, because he had less time.
My Dad is a genius–a lawyer, a pastor, a professor; well-read, well-traveled, and good at tons of things. He’s the arch-grownup, the standard by which I always measured men. And he made a great living when I was a kid, but that required him to be gone a lot.
Some of you have similarly successful fathers, and you know the feeling of going to the office with them…riding the elevator to the thousandth floor, then sitting in a chair in his office, trying to be quiet while he made international phone calls or typed away on that 80s/90s era PC. What are you doing here all day, I wondered?
He made a ton of money, but our time together was rare.
Still, this isn’t an indictment–my dad reproaches himself for his earlier workaholism more than I ever could. What I remember is that he DID give us time, and though it was a weekend ride to the dry-cleaners, I loved and relished it. During these drives I would ask questions I’d saved up, questions about history and science, about God. He would give thoughtful, intelligent answers. We would listen to old-school Newsboys tapes and ride with the windows of the Mitsubishi Galant rolled down.
My Dad gave us what he had. Now he has more time, and so we get that…he’s older and has gained wisdom through terrible struggle, and we benefit from his wisdom. He’s raised three children and helped raise lots more, and now my son can look up to his Pop Pop and have a Saturday morning routine (it involves watering the flowers and eating yogurt, I think…I don’t know, it’s their routine, not mine).
My husband Thomas is Andrew’s Daddy, and he gives him what he has…Drew is Daddy’s shadow. He eats Daddy’s spicy trail mix, watches Star Wars with him, and accompanies him on trips to the zoo or the pet store. He doesn’t really have any money (teaching and grad school will do that), but he has plenty of time and lots of love for his little boy.
Our dads give us what they have, and that can be a blessing and a curse…we get our father’s eyes and our father’s issues. We hear them in our minds. We want to make them proud. We see them everywhere, even when we haven’t seen them in a long time. It’s a huge responsibility–God is our Father, after all. You learn what that word means from whatever man you grew up with.
Being loved by your father is a privilege. Having a great father is a blessing. Happy Father’s Day, Awkwards.