Old Dads and Fathers Day

Hank Mattimore
Reproduced with Permission

Standing in front of me at Church last Sunday is an older man flanked by his two grown-up daughters. Each woman has her arm linked with dad. They remain close like that during the whole service. Occasionally, I notice, the young women giving the first love in their life a light squeeze.

When we talk about Father's Day, we usually are referring to young dads, the thrill it is for them to at the side of their wife at the moment of birth, the wonder all young dads feel the first time they hold a newborn babe in their arms. For me and I suspect for many dads, there is nothing to compare to those first precious days of fatherhood.

But, as I watched the interaction of the older dad with his daughters, I was reminded that fatherhood is not a one-time miracle. Being a dad is forever. Watching your girl grow up, being with her as she grows into a young woman, being with your boy as he transitions into manhood. The miracle continues even as your own hair turns gray and you have lost that spring in your step. Your kids are always your kids.. In their eyes and yours, you never lose even one iota of your fatherhood.

Kids yearn for a "forever Dad." Lord knows and the kids know that dad is far from perfect. But he is there for them. He is their life possession. He is the man who wrestled with them when they were little, who set limits on their teenage folly, who is grandpa to their own kids. Dad was there to teach his boy how to tie his necktie and to assure his daughter that she can do anything a boy can do. And if he belches a bit too loud or lets his bare behind show when he bends over to repair a leaky faucet, well so what. Nobody said he was perfect.. But dad is their dad. He belongs to them and they to him. The bond is never really broken.

My own kids are away from home this father's day and I will miss them terribly. Yet, I know we are closely connected and we will give one another a big hug when we do see one another again. Because, you see, the relationship between a dad and his kids may change through the years but never dies. I may be "poppy" to my daughter's kids, but, to my daughter, I'm still Dad.