Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
This is my second Father’s Day as one of the honorees, and the first one after you’ve managed to point in my direction and say “Dad” — although, truth be told, I’ve also witnessed you refer to your mother as the same. Regardless of where the language currently exists, you do have at this point a clear sense of me as a lighthouse in your uncertainties, as somebody you can call upon when you’ve been besieged by pain or fear.
You don’t yet understand my likes and dislikes outside of your own behaviors, and even those only through the prism of how my responses affect your own goals. You don’t know my sense of humor except that you know I enjoy making you laugh. That’s all fine. That’s all normal. You can start figuring out the nuances of other people after you have a better grasp of your own.
So there’s no Father’s Day gift for you to give me beyond your being happy, beyond your being here at all to have made me a father in the first place. Later, you may decide to sign cards, later you may pick out the cards based on what you believe I might enjoy, later you may make things of clay or crayon, later you may toss a quarter into the fund to get that necktie that might look good on me. But for now, continuing to be yourself is quite enough.
You do not owe me anything. In addition to my likes and dislikes and sense of humor I want you to have an understanding of that, eventually. Not on this day or any other.
I do have expectations, mind you. I expect you to be curious and to remain curious, I expect you to be kind, to be confident without being arrogant, to have a sense of justice and the will to stand against the powerful in defense of those who cannot defend themselves. I expect you to treat every person you meet with respect and to have the capacity to let that respect grow, for some of those people, into love. I expect you to value art, and science, and history, and to have the comprehension that you can value the lessons of the past as a means to making better futures. I expect you to give both work and play as much passion and effort as you can muster, and I expect you to find a healthy way to leave either should you discover you do not have any passion to give. I expect you to tell me when you need help. I expect you to be the sort of human being that other human beings want their own human beings to become when they are your age.
But you do not owe me any of that.
And the other side of this coin is that I expect from myself more than I will expect from you. Because I’m your father, and the responsibility of that is that I am not to name expectations for you if I’m not willing to give you the dedication to help you meet them.
Later, Father’s Day may be your day to offer appreciation for having me in your life. Now, and later, and every day in between, Father’s Day is my reminder that I’m supposed to be your father.
Current Music: Neko Case, “We’ve Never Met”