So my dad is a therapist, and a good one. It was nice to have one on hand for all of those traumatic, hormonal teen years. I was always a daddy's girl-absolutely adored him-and probably still am, truth be told. Today is his birthday and I'm thinking about an experience that's taught me something about parenting.
I am the oldest of five kids, and when I was a teenager, naturally, I slept in. One of those Saturdays, my dad decided to take my younger siblings downtown on the bus, because they'd never ridden it before. (I, of course, opted to sleep in instead.) The story goes as follows, and I wish I would have witnessed it personally. They took the bus downtown, ate some breakfast, had to run to catch a connecting bus, for which my dad was glad because everyone should have the experience of having to run for the bus, and had a grand old time riding around town. My younger sister, who was probably 10 at the time, said, "Dad, today you're being a REAL dad."
We all laugh about that, and as a therapist and professor of Child and Family Studies, my dad often reflected on that whole "real dad" concept. In my sister's mind, the extra time spent doing something fun made for such a rich experience.
It's easy to get stuck in the rut of daily, mundane duties that must be done. The dishes and laundry don't do themselves, the toys won't pick themselves up, etc. But there are those times when I play a board game with my son or hang out with my daughters that make for the "real mom" moments. It doesn't have to involve a lot, or any, money. What it does require is time. That can be hard, unless you carve it out of an already full day, and make it a priority, even if only for a short time.
Happy Birthday to my dad, who is amazing and wonderful and such a Real Dad. Love you much.