The cool thing about being a dad, I was telling Camdyn while putting on my shoes, is that we can wear anything we want.
She gave me that look again, the one you’d see from someone on a practical jokes show. I just kept tying my shoes and didn’t even care they were Adidas soccer shoes with black dress socks. With a Hornets jersey tee and grey shorts with a pattern of fish bones.
I can too, she finally said, and pull it off even better.
So it’s in moments like this I get a bit more clarity why I am these girls’ papa. Clearly, it’s to force them to think on their feet in ways no ordinary dad could do. It’s definitely not to give clarity to life, although I spend an awful lot of time in that sad endeavor, too.
If it’s within a mile or so, I’m so hoofing it. Unless I’m pressed for time. Or it’s all highway with no sidewalks. Or it’s too cold. Or too hot. Also, only if I have one of my miles-walking pairs of shoes on like I wear to Target.
Last fall, Camdyn had a tournament in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tenn.
I love that place. The forecast was for snow and a low of zero. But it would get up near freezing during the day. Other parents moaned. I secretly wanted to see how Camdyn would play as a block of Camdyn ice.
Kinda like the Rockies’ bats lately, my words have ground to a crawl. When this happens, you churn on. There are no timeouts in soccer or life. Your life GPS won’t direct you around it. No, the only way is through.
So when the calendar ambles along for an intersection for your kid to move to college and it’s also the 19th anniversary of the day your dad died, well, there are stories.
Even if you don’t have time right away to write them. Or maybe you try and get seven graphs in and realize you’re so not doing the feelings justice. It’s like getting Frosted Flakes but pouring them into skim milk. WHO DOES THAT?
I won a book called The Write-Brain Workbook for dominating a bowling tournament of writers. (It was in doubles, and David threw hard and wild and I was the finesse. Also yes: It’s not even a little bit difficult to dominate most writers in a bowling tournament.)
Instead of a pair of plane tickets or at least a sweet new Red Ventures T-shirt, David and I won these books – and I’m pretty sure they were second-hand.
So when you’re given a janky book to celebrate your sporting supremacy, you make chicken soup. Or, lemonade. Well, you know what I mean. I’ve held onto this thing a while and just now started to make some use of it.
It’s an essential part of being a parent. Or a blogger. Especially a Colorado Rockies fan. There isn’t much in this world that doesn’t get a bit sweeter with belief. In fact, the lack of it is grotesque, like those Poptarts without frosting.
In the course of my discourse and my writing, I say stuff. Sometimes, it’s about Ingrid Michaelson or enchiladas. Other times, it’s about beliefs. Not just in Jesus or Buddha or the power of the changeup pitch, but sometimes.
I’m writing this somewhere over what looks like Arizonewmexitexas. I’d know for sure if I could see if those are Cardinals or Cowboys car flags attached to cars down there. But honestly, Cowboys fans are everywhere like a bad itch.
I’m grateful for what this weekend past became.
A crew of colleagues in new roles for nearly everyone pulled off the improbable. We delivered a seamless international training event, somehow, someway. I likened it to watching a possum cross eight lanes of highway traffic unscathed.
The girls just don’t ask as many questions. They have answers. Or, they don’t look to me for them as they once did. This is okay. Seasons change in fatherhood. If they change back, I’ll be ready for that, too.
The list that once pushed 400 is down to 213.
That’s still a lot of Go Ask Daddy. Want to know something? Every single question I’ve answered in this space has genuinely come from my children’s’ mouths. If they never ask another, I’ll have enough for 42 more Go Ask Daddy posts.
The happy is easy: I have three wonderful daughters who enrich my life beyond measure. I also miss my dad. He died of leukemia three months before Hayden was born. This Father’s Day I again considered visiting his grave.
It’s in a beautiful spot, just under a mimosa tree that since has grown incredibly.
But it’s not where he is. It’s not where I feel him. I felt him so much more in the years just after his death. I’ve written about things I can’t explain. I feel as if my dad had to expend a lot of cosmic energy after death just to keep me from self-destructing.
You’re doing it even when you’re not doing it. You’re doing it, especially when you’re not doing it because little eyes are watching you. And also, you’re practicing those characteristics you’ll call on later when you are parenting.
It’s not the big moments, but the incremental tangles and triumphs that lead to what you become as a parent – and what direction your child takes as a result.
This list could have been 55 things, but I kept it to five. Let’s talk about it. Feel free to add to these five, or bring up an observable aspect of your own. Parenting has changed my life and shaped what I’ve become as a coach and a writer and so much more.