Sunday, February 8, 2015

A to Z: F is for Fatherhood

I have a  hat rack. 

Instead of standing in the corner year after year or being mounted to the wall, it goes with me wherever I go. It has become my Wilson - both a burden and a friend. I don't need reminded that the rack is always there, but I do, however need reminded of what each hat represents from time to time - as a collection and as individual hats. Some hats I've had since childhood, some are more recent. Some recent ones show more wear and tear than the older ones. Some fit a little too snug. While others may be too big for my head...perhaps reminding me I didn't know what I was doing when I purchased it.  My favorites are ones that fit perfectly - these are the ones with the brand name, Complacent Sportswear. These probably shouldn't be my favorites.

My Christian hat is too big for me...and I like that. It's reminder that there's always room for growth and that there is something bigger than myself. Something bigger than all of us. My hat labeled spouse is a rather unique one. Think power laces Marty McFly had in 2015. It tends to tighten up on its own - interestingly enough, it's when I say something stupid. 

My hats of friendship...well, there isn't enough of those. But the collection is beginning to grow. The ones I do have are a nice assortment of colors and sizes. Always a good go-to when I can't make up my mind which one to wear.

And as much as I want some days to leave the house wearing just one hat...that fits perfectly...I never just wear one. My blessings remind me to put on my Christian hat. The "I love you" to and from my wife remind me of the spouse one...and the others all have their special and unique reminders and reasons too as to why I shouldn't leave without them.

There's one hat though that I just can't seem to get right. I've tried the Velcro style and all the other styles to help find the perfect fit. I've worn the ridiculous flat rim as well as the curved. I've worn it inside-out, upside-down, but to no avail. I even flipped the rim up, crossed my arms and did a "yo-yo"...but my spouse hat tightened up on me.

The hat of fatherhood, I have found, is one tough hat to wear. Kind of like those awesome shoes you just had to buy even though they were a half-size too small. No amount of clipping can make you feel comfortable in them. Unlike the shoes though, which I suppose you could return or sell, I'm thankful for this hat, I love this hat...and I never, ever want to be without it. I just have to figure out how to get it to fit the way I like it. Perhaps that will never happen. And maybe that's the way it is supposed to be.

Whether it's the way it's supposed to be or not, there is this...LOUD voice within me, urging me to keep trying to make the hat fit. To keep trying even though it never will...or at least seem like it never will. I want all my hats to fit the way they are supposed to. I want to model my Christian faith, be a loving/supportive husband and be a friend that is unselfish and motivating. But there's something about my hat of fatherhood that I want to be perfect even though I know it never will. No other hat has me kicking myself...hating myself most nights in bed. I get so angry at myself for not handling certain situations with more finesse, poise and love.

There's nothing I talk to God about more than my hat of fatherhood. I thank God every day for blessing me with my daughters and giving me that tremendous responsibility. I remember talking to a friend at work around the time my wife and I were expecting our second daughter. I told him that I could not fathom loving a second child as much as I did the first. Meaning, I had SO much love for our first daughter I honestly didn't think I had any love left to give. I hope I'm making myself clear. I'm hoping if you're a parent you know what I'm trying to say. Needless to say, I found an equal amount of love to give to our second...and our third!

I have never wanted to be more perfect at anything than being a father. I always wanted to be one...and I think some days, I won't hesitate to say it, I'm a pretty awesome dad and I feel like my girls are lucky and blessed as I was. I can be the Mike Schmidt- four home runs at Wrigley - kind of dad. But I can also be the 0 for 6 dad too. So everyday I'm thankful to God that I have a new start and endless opportunities to talk with my girls or just spend time with them. I know they won't understand all the things I do and say for many more years, but I do have this fear that they will remember me for the bad things and not the good. I hope they know someday that I never tried harder at anything else in my life than I did at being a great father.

I think the fact that I strive to be a perfect father says something. So whether tattered and torn or even temporarily misplaced, I will never - even for a second - leave the house without my hat of fatherhood.

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