About 25 years ago I decided to write a column about being a father to Aaron. The theme of the column was that Father’s Day, for the parent of a young boy, is more a day of celebration of the joy of being a dad than a day for the child to show his love.
I called it “My Father’s Day Present,” and it became the first of many I wrote as Aaron grew up and as my role of father changed. Eventually, once I find the time, I plan to republish them, because they seemed to resonate with so many readers. This most likely will be the last of them, because Aaron will soon be a father, and he will have his own perspective on fatherhood to share.
Maybe I will start a Grandfather’s Day column.
Coincidentally, Aaron’s son — yes, it’s a boy — will be born at virtually the same point in his life as Aaron was in mine. As I have said many times, when your first child is born when you are 35, your attitude about parenting is a lot different than if you are 25. The sacrifices you make for your child seem a lot less significant than if you are younger. You bring more life experiences and somewhat fewer life pressures to the household. Most important, you have a much sharper perspective on time, and you realize that your time with your child may fly by much faster than you would like. Therefore, you try to spend as much time as you can with him.
Anyone who knows us knows that Aaron and I have a truly special relationship. And while I surely don’t need to say it, I am incredibly proud of the man he has become. He is someone who has a strong, independent, fearless voice and a mind that has always impressed and surprised me. (As a very young boy he once asked me how, if Jesus was crucified on Friday and his tomb was discovered empty on Sunday, everyone is convinced he didn’t rise on Saturday.) It has been a joy to watch him develop.
And now I get to watch him become a father. So far, Aaron seems to be relatively cool about his impending change of life. He says he is not freaked out when he feels the baby move in Sarah. (Sorry I didn’t get to you until now, Sarah, but this is a Father’s Day column.) I know Aaron is excited and ready. He has been preparing for his new role his entire life.
So, I am not the least bit worried about what kind of father Aaron will be; and I think I can predict some of the things he will do.
He will put a plastic golf club in his son’s hands as soon as he can stand up by himself.
He will listen to every word from his son and engage him in conversation as if he is talking to a peer.
At some point, when he considers it appropriate (unlike the inappropriate time in our history), he will make sure his son watches “Major League” and “Caddyshack.”
He will play Motown music in the car and encourage singalongs.
He will be very serious about what his son eats, unlike the father who stuffed him with pizza and burgers.
He will let his grandfather and grandmother spoil him, but he will make sure the boy stays grounded and humble, as Aaron is.
And finally, he will love his son unconditionally, as I have always loved him.
There have been many moments in my life with Aaron when he showed me how much our relationship means to him. For instance, at my 70th birthday celebration, he asked me to be Best Man in his wedding. And now he and Sarah have decided to name my grandson John David (after me and Sarah’s father). It’s an honor I cherish.
They will call him J.D. I can’t wait to welcome J.D. into our family, and I look forward to next Father’s Day, when Aaron and I can share our Father’s Day presents together.