It was a few weeks ago, and I’m still kinda getting over it. This year I realized that I am one of the “old” fathers. My kids are growing up and looking at me differently than they did when their eyes seemed to light up every time I came through the door at the end of the day. My daughter still has a little of this in her, but it is definitely different than years before. I’m not sad, it is just a new reality of my current season of life. My goal is to embrace, love, and experience it for all it is worth.
This picture is me and my dad in ’92. There have been many changes since then. I’ve gone from a newly married man just beginning a new family with Kym to one of those “older” dads whose children are often referred to as “grown”. I usually shudder a bit when I hear it. Again, it’s not due to sadness or a desire to spurn the categorization of where life finds me. Mostly it’s just been a shock as I am slowly waking to this new realization.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, it really isn’t that big of a deal at all. When I look at this picture of me and my dad, I look at it with fondness. It reminds me of how much I love him and look up to him as one of my lifetime heroes. It’s been that way most of my life and even more so these days as I find myself doing the very things with my kiddos that he did with me.
However, I do remember a time when I didn’t look at my dad in that loving, respectful way. It was part of my growing and maturing that bent me towards independence. I looked at my dad with an eye of criticism; mostly thinking he was out of touch, out of style, and behind the times. Seriously, there were some short shorts with color-striped gray tube socks. It wasn’t a good look. Now, however, I find myself firmly in that stage of fatherhood. I know that I appear “dorky” at times and that my kiddos are having those same kind of thoughts more and more every day.
All-in-all I am completely okay with this and ready to see what God has in store for my family in the next few years to come. The main thing I have learned through this process of self realization, it is that time is fleeting. James 4:14 reminds us just how short life is- “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
My son and daughter no longer fit in my lap and I can’t hold them as they fall asleep on my chest and drool on my shirt. Their days under our roof are fewer and fewer. My job is to grab each of those days, live them to the fullest, and attempt to impart as many tidbits of wisdom as I can. Even if I do so with my own fashion faux pas version of the gray tube socks with colored stripes.