I love being a dad. I have three children and I adore each of them. My youngest, a boy, is convinced that he is my favorite, but the truth is, my favorite child is usually the one I am with at the time. I haven't slept soundly since our first daughter was born almost twenty-four years ago and, much to my chagrin, things don't get easier as they get older. It is the toughest job I have ever undertaken and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I do miss the time they were all little, but I embrace every moment with them and love them all unconditionally and completely.
I like to think of my generation of "Baby Boomers" as being the first of the "enlightened" fathers. Unlike our dads, we were in the delivery room when our children were born, although whether I was of much help is debatable. I was intently holding a video camera and gently encouraging my wife to breathe, as if it made a difference. I embraced the formerly traditional "mommy" duties of changing, bathing and feeding our children when they were infants. I still cherish the times I drove them each to preschool. I loved reading to them, building Legos, solving puzzles, swimming, Rollerblading, talking, laughing and just being with them.
When I was a kid, most of my friends bonded with their dads at sporting events: baseball and basketball games, etc. I didn't have a traditional family. My parents divorced before my second birthday and my visits with my father were often tense, orchestrated hand-offs from one parent to another. I didn't learn first-hand what it was like to grow up in a household with a dad until several years later.
My mom remarried before I began first grade. Her new husband sold cars and he worked nights and weekends until we came along. He made the bold and selfless decision to quit his job for six months so he could spend that valuable time with me. After all, we were now a family and the two of us needed to get to know each another if we were to forge any sort of meaningful relationship. We did. That time changed my life forever and for the better. I already had a father and now, I also had a dad.
Incredibly, in addition to sharing me, these two men also shared the same birth date. Since I was child, I proudly called them both "dad." I know that it has always been somewhat troubling for both of them believing that my heart is somehow divided between them, but that has never been the case. It is not now, nor was this ever a contest. There are no losers in this equation. I love them both and I consider myself to be one lucky son. To both of them I say, Happy Father's Day. As for me, every day is Father's Day and I thank my wife, Keri, for joining me on this incredible journey of parenthood.
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