It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
I’ve been thinking about how to make each and every day matter. How to make each and every day memorable and meaningful.
If the last week or so has taught us anything, it’s that people are super fragile. All of us are, at one point or another. It’s hard to know what’s really going on inside the hearts and minds of others, including those we care about most. So, the most important thing any of us can do with our lives — and with the minutes of our days — is to try our best to make them matter for ourselves and for those we care about.
On this particular day, Father’s Day, I’m thinking a lot about my father and the memories we shared during the time we had together. I’m also thinking about all the other fathers I know who are stepping up, showing up, and trying to be as present as possible in their children’s lives. Happy Father’s Day to you!
Like motherhood, fatherhood is the job of a lifetime. And, like many mothers, there are fathers who also doubt themselves and struggle with their role as a parent. They wonder about their importance and their influence on their children. They wonder if they’re getting things right, or if they’re messing up. They ask themselves, “am I better at this than my own father was?” So many men tell me that’s their hope and their desire. They also wonder, “What will my children remember about me after I’m gone?”
Well, I can only tell you what I remember about my own dad, and what I remember is very different than what other people who worked for him in his political and public life might say. First and foremost, I remember the way he loved and treated my mother. He treated her like a queen. Growing up, that’s what I thought fathers did. I thought they treated their wives — the mother of their children — like the most important people on the planet. My father set an example that trickled down to his four sons.
I also remember my outings with my dad. He loved to look at cars, to go to events, and to talk to total strangers. I remember going to lots of baseball games with my him (Go Orioles!). I don’t watch a single one of these games today without thinking about his love for the game and about the handwritten batting averages that he wrote down (in perfect penmanship) inside every program.
I also remember how he spent his time. I don’t walk into a church today without thinking about my father’s love for God (he went to church every day of his life), his belief in the poor, or his lifelong fight for social justice. He always wanted me to also think about how I could help others, too. Today, because of him, I do.
I also remember what he ate. I don’t see a bowl of potato chips or cashews or Macadamia nuts without thinking of my dad. He ate them all almost every day. He also always put them out for guests, as being a consummate host was something he loved to do. Now, I’m like that, too.
I also remember how well-dressed he always was. My dad believed that being well-dressed was a sign of respect for yourself, your family, and others. Any time I see a man in a suit or a sports coat, I think of my father. And, if I smell Old Spice, I’m immediately transported back to my 12-year-old self, watching my dad shave and smack his face with that cologne.
My father was one of two boys. He was a father himself to four boys and to me. As the only girl, I often felt like he never really knew what to do with a daughter. But, he always tried. He wanted to make sure that I was an accomplished athlete. He wanted me to know how to shoot, skeet and trap. He wanted me to be tough. He also wanted to make sure that I traveled the world and understood other cultures and religions. He wanted me to know what made me special, what to do and what not to do, and what I should remember after he was gone.
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