The gift a dad would never ask for


Yesterday, social media feeds were filled with dad tributes in the form of grateful posts and blogs. I realize I could have written a blog and posted it yesterday, but sometimes the inspiration doesn’t come until the day has passed. Likewise, the best father’s day gift isn’t always realized until later. My wife asked me over the weekend what I wanted for a gift. It’s not that she isn’t thoughtful, far from it, but because I so frequently purchase what I need or want throughout the year it has become very difficult to buy for me. My son even informed me he had ordered something online the day before and it had not arrived and I’m sure I’ll like it when it comes. However, I am content to relax the special day away with my family, so I don’t lose any sleep over what I might get for a father’s day gift.  Nevertheless, I already received the best gift yesterday and somewhat unexpectedly. I simply got to “play the dad”.

My son’s car had several minor issues that would prevent it from passing inspection today, and yesterday those things needed to be done. Could he have done them on his own? Sure. Did I help him anyway? Sure did. We took a little trip down to the auto parts store to purchase a headlight lamp, license plate bulbs, and a set of wiper blades. I even let him pay for it. We got them home and while I replaced the headlight, he worked on the license plate. Then together, the two of us, mechanically challenged as we are, dripped sweat in the Texas heat while attempting to install the wipers. (insert joke: how many Wrens does it take to…….). Come to find out, the YouTube video led us astray (honest to God) and we drove back up to the parts store and let a professional come out and install them for us.

I came from a line of hard-working Wren men who were paint and body men and mechanics. But it all stopped when it got to me because my dad steered me toward music. No doubt, he tried to convince me to watch him work on cars, but I waited him out in my room on the piano bench until he gave up. (he gave up pretty quick). As a result, I had the privilege of passing down all I know about cars to my son. (insert winky face)

The day of imparting my “knowledge” came yesterday, and together we struggled. In the end, however, he now has working lights and wipers. Indeed, these are cherished moments for me whenever he gets to witness the joys that “adulting” can bring. Of course, he is an adult, but he’s still trying to find the joy in all this. But it’s a true gift for a dad like me to see him through all these mundane tasks. Mind you, it’s not about bailing him out of predicaments like some sort of low level super hero. It’s about the journey, much like the 4 hour mountain hike up McCullough Gulch we did last summer. (see photo above)

I can remember the trailhead offering a contrasting view from the one 2 steep miles up by the waterfall. The trailhead offered hope, looking ahead to the destination, and the waterfall gave us perspective to see how far we had come. Oh, but the middle and its  rocky terrain, obstructed views, thin air, exhaustion, needed respites, and struggle.  Turns out the journey was the bridge between hope and perspective.  I’ve been on this journey called fatherhood a while now and thankfully my hope increases as my perspective broadens. It’s a gift that I really need and really want.

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