Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dad's Day (or How my Son Told me Something with a Present)

Collection of gifts for last father's day. And a cereal bar.

By Daniel Feldman*

A cereal bar was the way my son found to tell me something I didn't know about my parenting style. He surprised me with the simple gift on last Father's day, last Sunday. And that made my Father's Day different from all previous ones.

There were the father's days when there was only one kid, who didn't know what was that day for. After all, I was his father every dayWell... at least when I was home, and not at IEEE802.3 meetings, or customer trips. Then there were two boys, and now the oldest started to have a better idea about a family, and him not being the only one, being the big brother. Which made me "a father" for him, not just "his father". Kids are who define us as fathers, and how they see us, how they react to us is what really matters. 

Father's day is this artificial date, created to sell more ties (or grills, or smartphones), when dad decides what he is doing with the family. In a strange way, my kids think it is a much more important day to me, than I really feel it is. Father's day, to me, is every day I sleep at home, can walk my kids to school, and arrive early enough to have dinner with them.

Walking and dining define me as a father. Because over the years, I found out that, other than reading at bedtime (a tradition appropriate only until a certain age), this is when we really talk. We talk about school, and about my work. We talk about computers, and cats, and girl, and piano, and cello, and sax and clarinet (OK, there is a pattern here :-))....

But going back to the official father's:day this is when my kids (in addition to my birthday)  show me they recognize me as a person with "wants and needs". So this year, in a humorous, scaled back celebration, I got: a can of dolmas, anchovies, corn, a paint-relief cream (much needed), a BBQing trophy and a cereal bar.

The best one was the cereal bar. It was retaliation for the cereal bar I gave as part of breakfast-in-bed to one of my kids, on his birthday. He chose to tell me today he REALLY didn't like only getting that. I am happy I got it back, because we are talking about yet one more mistake I made, and didn't realize how it affected him. So Father's day may have a real purpose after all, getting us to talk even more.

Happy (next) Father's Day.

*Our guest blogger is a Silicon Valley High Tech Exec who loves to be a father of two musical-high tech boys of 8 and 10 years old.

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