The Dads I love on Father’s Day

I miss my Dad today.

(That’s a joke; I miss my Dad every day.)

But working in social media with a constant stream of incoming PR requests, the tone this week has been decidedly “your Dad deserves this” and “how are you celebrating the father in your life?” It’s…hard.

I think about how he always, always had the answer. And even if he knew what you were going to say and the roundabout way you’d get to your point, he’d always, always listen. He’d nod as he carefully turned each piece of grilling chicken, give you an answer in the form of a question (“Don’t you think that…/Have you tried…?) and firmly end issues that couldn’t possibly resolved right then and there on that beautiful summer evening (“Well, sometimes people are just idiots”) before asking if I’d heard of this new side project from that artist he’d been telling me about last time.


In terms of “deserving,” I think it’s fair to say we all deserved a heck of a lot more of that. More of everything, really.

Being Dave Flynn-less during a Dad holiday is rough. Not that there’s ever a time it doesn’t suck, but the onslaught of tender advertising, like kids atop their fathers’ shoulders and grandfathers carving, like, boats and stuff makes me a little weepy.

Well, weepier than normal. I tend towards the weepier end of the spectrum.

But insofar as “celebrating the father in my life,” I’m actually doing a-ok.

My kids have godfathers- Mike, Nat, and Tom- whom I’m lucky enough to consider brothers. (And growing up as one of four girls, having brothers- especially ones who are thankfully, mostly, out of the grossest phases is kind of a gift in and of itself.)

Joe, my own godfather, was a drummer alongside my Dad’s guitar for many, many years, and was one of the brothers of his heart. He’s one of the first people I turn to for pivotal rock trivia issues, and every single conversation turns into an “I didn’t know that!” chain of epic proportions.

Then of course we’ve got Mike, P.J.’s Dad. I mean, I hit the father-in-law lottery. One of my most prized roles in that household is of being Mike’s sous chef at family gatherings. It doesn’t hurt that he tops off my wine glass while we momentarily escape the hilarity of cousin-palooza, but it’s certainly not the only reason. He’s also good at doing that side-hug that Dads do, while giving me a “good job, Keel,” before taking my kids out on hourlong playground jaunts. So yeah, I still do have a Dad. And I’m grateful.

But topping my thankful list? It’s that guy P.J. again. There’s rarely a day that goes by where he doesn’t top my many, many lists (and most are even positive). He dads like a verb and, even when he feels too tired to give the most basic eye contact, he sits down with his kids at dinner. Every single night. He takes Jasper on long walks before bed to explore the neighborhood (and squeeze out the last drops of energy). He brings Suzy to jiu-jitsu and helps her with her moves at home. He drives Nora to school every morning so they can sing the Hamilton score and casually talk about life. He instituted chocolate chip pancake and vintage cartoon Saturday mornings, and rarely misses a chance to take all three to the Home Depot project day. He shampoos their hair and reads another story. He knows which American Girl accessories are on the wish list and each and every construction vehicle’s first name (because they do have them).

And the fact that he falls asleep most nights with a grocery list of his purported failings of various children on that specific day, the fact that he stews on it at all makes him an exceptional father.

I should know. I’m surrounded by them and I was raised by one. Not only did I marry a guy who Dadded like my Dad, but I also happened to marry a guy whom my Dad regularly high-fived once P.J. joined the Dad Club.

And it was always, always well-deserved.

(Happy Father’s Day, you guys.)



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