Every father’s day I get home made cards from each one of my kids. They’re essentially report cards, spelling out what if anything i did that impressed them over the past year. They may be drawn with crayons and cutout from cardboard, but they are always very telling. Since they get made in less than 10 minutes on Sunday morning, they usually have an unbeatable charm. I hang them on my office door as prized trophies to remind me of why I go to work every day.
Fatherhood does not come with a manual and if there was one, I’d need three. This father’s day started with a bike ride with Oren. He’s getting ready for the adventure of lifetime; a ride across Israel with the most important guys in his world. He’s learning the art of road biking and working towards a goal. Today we are riding with the Huntington Bike Club. He’s about a quarter the age of most of the riders and we are riding 40 miles, or about twice the longest he’s ever gone. By pure chance, we’re heading to Locust Valley where my dad is buried, fitting for a father’s day ride. I try to keep up with my son as he disappears up the hills thinking how proud my father would be to see his genetic linage spinning down the road. I grin knowing that whatever happens, this boy knows the thrill of driving his bike hard down the road.
Being a dad you try to maintain a connection with each child. Like a mobile phone sometimes you need to walk in different direction to get reception. Can you hear me now? It gets especially tricky with teen girls. Lior my middle child is pushing eighteen and is happiest being with her friends, or plugged into Facebook making plans for the next meet. There is not much room for dad these days. Things were different when Lior was growing up. We biked, kayaked and practice yoga together. All I had to do was open the door to her room at 6 AM and she would be up and ready to take on the world with me. We practiced yoga together for several years. Recently I reestablished our yoga connection and took her with me to Balance – where we practice Ashtanga. These days Lior is about looking good and if she can attain a yoga butt, she’s in. So here we are again after a five year break side-by-side, breath-by-breath moving through the primary series. I grin knowing that whatever happens, this girl knows her way around a mat.
Then there’s Tal my first born. We worked hard together the past couple of years to get her into the college she wanted. Here is where I needed the manual. It was time to transform from dad to coach and take the words “should” and ‘could” out of the lexicon. I like being a coach and teaching Tal to set goals, overcome hurdles and step up and take what is hers. She had to slay some demons and work really hard, but she did it with humor and grace. She did it her way. On father’s day a bunch of us got together at Sand City beach to picnic, but Tal was working and not there. The night before she drove into a bush and scratched the car. I was hoping she’d come and spend a couple of hours with me.
Sure enough Tal showed up wearing her Main Street nursery work cloths. She’s tan and earthy and looking like she’s been with plants rather than screens. She brought me a coffee shake and a hug. She told me she stopped at the auto body shop to get an estimate and plans to fix the car and she sent her application and deposit for the semester abroad program that she wants to go to. Just a few months ago she didn’t even know how to drive; she had no job and no direction. And now like a diamond in the rough she is shinning bright. Some guy is going to take her it’s just a matter of time. That’s in the back of the manual somewhere. I grin knowing that the guy better know how to do the laundry and cook, cause she’s got other plans.
Not sure what it all means, but I didn’t squander my time with any of them and for that I’m grateful. Bring on the cards.