In 2018, life is so ridiculously busy and complicated with careers, after school activities, homework, sports, etc…not to mention the added stresses of social media, political unrest and watching one too many episodes of Caillou. Seriously, what’s wrong with that kid?? When you really drill down, what’s most important? For me (and probably most of you, hey you’re reading this) it’s family. But everyone says that.
Being the dad
It means just hangin’ with them. And it means the small things. Think about the things you will miss, and it will make you appreciate everything else even more. For example, I have a special handshake I do with my boys (ages 8 and 5) before they go into school, and I love it. We made them up a few years ago and it’s one of my absolute favorite things I share with them. While my 8 year old still gives me the special ‘shake, he now looks around the school parking lot to see if anyone is watching. My 5 year old asks for shoulder rides at the park, around the house, etc… but he’s getting bigger. My 10 year old daughter asks for me to sit with her and talk each night at bedtime, telling me about her day. But we are approaching her teen years when she will likely be less inclined to share time with me and, perhaps, become a gremlin for a while.
And now that the warmer weather is here, it’s a perfect time to create new traditions and age suitable memories. Last summer I took the boys camping and had them help me build a fire; they still talk about it and can’t wait to go again. Years ago my daughter and I started going on “daddy-daughter days”, loosely planned adventures where the two of us just go and hang out for a while.
My favorite was when she was about 6 and we went to Wildwood Park and danced in the flower garden behind the Manor House for a couple hours. She still remembers it and I get teary eyed when thinking about that special memory. A few months ago we went shopping and had lunch together, complete with bubble tea drinks. So “daddy-daughter days” have evolved, but retain their importance.
My point is, make each day count because once the time is gone you can’t get it back. We all get busy, tired and frustrated, but as dads, it’s our job to be our childrens’ superhero and to always be present, no matter what. So make it count.
Born and raised in Toledo, Brad Augustyniak is a near-lifelong Toledo resident, and the owner of GearUp419.com. He now resides in Sylvania Township with his wife and three children.