I never considered the fact that my dad, as a single father, had to buy pads and tampons for my sister and me, and the thoughts that must have run through his head the first time he did so. He did an excellent job of buying, managing, and stocking up on period products when my sister and I slept at his house. I never remember a time when the bathroom closet was empty. –Anon
Today, I did something that I have never done in my entire life…I cut the grass of my little 2 by 4 yard, if you can call it that. I remember being so annoyed every Sunday morning, the one day I could sleep late, and I could have slept until noon, had I not been awakened every Sunday morning by all of the Dads mowing their lawns.
Every single Sunday morning, I had no peace. When I religiously opened the front door to run to play wiffleball, I inhaled the overwhelming aroma of freshly cut grass, and saw shining green lawns everywhere, as smiling fathers used their tools to complete the finishing touches on the hedges. There must have been some unwritten law stating that a Mother could never come between a father and his yard work.
But, that was then.
Today, I broke that law. Because, Dad, if there is one thing that haunts my head, it’s that you always complain when a lawn isn’t neat and manicured. That untidy yard ruins a neighborhood; when everyone else’s lawn is in order, a messy lawn is just a really bad reflection of that homeowner.
Yes, home is where the heart is, but that lawn might as well be considered the eyes of that homeowner, and we can’t have sad-looking eyes. So, today, I mowed the lawn…and I did it in 35 minutes flat. The good news is that I didn’t slice my foot open, the bad news is that I got a huge cut on my arm from a sticker bush. I sweated like a beast, it must have been 104°, and my allergies were raging- it went something like mow-sneeze-mow-sneeze-mow-blow nose. I’d also like to add that I used a tool for the first time ever, those sharp grass-cutting scissors to snip the difficult to reach spots. You would have been proud.
Thank you for sending me Maria Shriver’s book. I really appreciated your letter, and the time you took to make sure I read the all-important question: “Just Who Will You Be?”
I have reached this point in Maria’s book:
“Many of you may also feel that you’re scrambling to fulfill your roles in everybody’s life but your own. You may feel you’re not entitled to show up as anyone but the perfect student, the perfect son or daughter, the perfect spouse or partner, the perfect employee or parent.
You may believe you’re not allowed to think of yourself as separate from your job, your family, and all the other legacies you inhabit.
But what I’ve come to understand is that we are first and foremost human beings in our own right. We’re entitled to our own lives, our own dreams and goals, our own legacies…”
I’ve done a lot of thinking about all of the lives I’ve lived in this single lifetime and the advice I’ve followed until now: play sports in high school, get good grades, go to college, get good grades, be the best over-achiever you can be, get a job, get married, have kids, stay really sickeningly happy for the rest of your lives until you die.
Maybe we do go through the majority of our lives trying to please the rest of the world. Maybe in following my pre-ordained life of high school, college, marriage and kids, I never stopped to figure out exactly who I am.
Just think…I spent 15 days with students in Dublin, all expenses paid and actually got paid to do it. Did the same thing last year in London with four students…there are so many deviations from the path that will lead you to different experiences. My kids will know that they do not have to follow the path. They can take that road less travelled, because it does make all the difference.
You taught me that by example, Dad.
Between having kids and reaching the golden “happily ever after” status lies a vast sea of life experiences, and only in living those experiences can we discover just who we will be.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for always being there, for buying me pads when I needed them, for recommending books, and for still guiding me after so many years.
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