He is making a living, chasing pigs and bringing home the bacon to squealing children. We scream, “Daddy! Daddy! What did you bring me?”
We pick his pockets for candy and loose change. He goes down easily, conquered around the legs. He gives in easily, worn out from work or worn down by our kisses. No matter, he is home.
Daddy’s home and we begin to ramble off our list of accomplishments and the things that we want to do with him. Because the sugar- rush is short- lived. Because I can’t buy much with $1.42 these days. Because what we really want is you— your approval and your presence.
He is making a living, dodging the questions of his past while hoping to answer to his future. He looks into our eyes and sees the world to come. He hopes to be the father he always wanted, proof that his living is not in vain.
He will be there, show up rain or shine. He will grow up and into the responsibility that rests on his broad shoulders. He will not pretend that he can carry the weight of the world. Instead, he promises only to carry us, to go the distance and not give up or let go and let us down.
We rest easy, dare more and live freely because of you. Suitcase or briefcase, uniform or suit and tie, wrench or pen, we care not the tools of your trade. What matters is the home that is made for us. We just want you to be at home and to feel at home in this time and space that is made for us.
He is making a living, scraping the bottom that he has hit. Hard head and brick wall go hand in hand. He wants to be the father we see on TV, to become the superhero we have made him to be. But, he is weak and dependent. He’s never owned a cape and there was never a phone booth to change into some superman.
No, he’s just a man. Too proud to tell us that he is in need, that he cannot be strong alone, that he needs the support of a family. Because then what kind of man would he be?
If he ever asked, we would respond, “A real one.” And we would be happy to call you dad, daddy, father, papa.
Because making a life together is more important than making a living. Because it doesn’t matter what you bring home but that you come home. Because we are totally at home with you, making living fun and sweet and courageous.
And this is not a hard day’s work but your life’s work. So, take the day off. Happy Father’s Day.