There's nothing I love more than smushing my kid's faces with kisses every morning before school and every night before bed.
Luckily, they're at that stage of life where they totally dig it and think I'm the best-dad-ever when I do it.
O, the joy and giggles!
While I hope they will always look up at me admiringly as they do today, I suspect the tide will change. I was once a toddler, then a 5-year-old, then a teenager, then a 20something, and so on, I know that my "totally-cool-dad" factor has a shelf life (backed by statistics and stories from other dads who've been-there-done-that).
I'm not discouraged though.
As an adult, I can look back over my life and think of what I thought, felt, and said about my dad at different stages of my life. Some were nice. Some were not so nice, and some were deeply reflective. Through it all, I developed a greater appreciation for my father (and fathers in general) in his/their role as dad.
So here's my attempt to put to words some of what our kids (at different ages) wish they had said, actually said, definitely shouldn't have said, meant to say, could have said better, or hope to someday say when they see us in the presence of Jesus Christ. (This list is inspired by an unsourced reprint from a Dutch Magazine sometime in the 80s.)
(11 MONTHS OLD)
“Dada... YANYAN... (CHOCOLATE)”
TRANSLATION: You’re the giant being (possibly with facial hair) between Mom's breastfeeding meals and diaper changes who gives the best hugs and the sugary stuff. You're pretty much a drug-supplier at this point. Embrace it!
“Daddy, you’re the man! I love you sooo much!”
TRANSLATION: You’re their hero and their role model and can pretty much accomplish anything in the world. They want to be you when they grow up. Pretty sweet period!
“No worries. Dad doesn’t know.”
TRANSLATION: They’ve seen some of your flaws and have picked up on the fact that you sometimes “miss” certain important things. They now believe they can get away with a lot without you ever knowing, you know, cos you're not as smart as they are.
“Dad doesn’t even understand!”
TRANSLATION: Like the last generation of their iThingy, you’re getting outdated. You’re not as cool as you used to be and you don’t “get” them because you were never a 12 year old like them.
“You’re embarrassing me, Dad!”
TRANSLATION: JUST. DON’T. EVEN. SHOW. UP!
“I’M NOT A KID ANYMORE, DAD!”
TRANSLATION: They can drive. They have hair on their chest, maybe chin. They are bonafied adults now (according to them) and know EVERYTHING there is to know about life. You’re kinda in the way!
“Dad might have an idea how to handle this.”
TRANSLATION: They’ve “tasted” a bit of the real world and are starting to realize you might have known what you were talking about back when. They’re not quite ready to concede defeat, but they’re close.
“I need Dad’s input on this.”
TRANSLATION: Yeah. They DEFINITELY need you now. They’re professionals, dating, or probably dads/moms now and responsible for smaller versions of themselves. Much of what you said to them earlier in life is becoming reality and they desperately need you to remind them of everything you taught.
“I wish Dad were here to see this.”
TRANSLATION: They’re deeply grateful for your life and the lessons you taught. They’re surprisingly understanding of even the more difficult times you shared together. They wish you could see them now and celebrate what they’ve become through your influence.
(age: 50 +)
“What I would give to have Dad here now.”
TRANSLATION: They miss you and wish there were many conversations you both had finished. They finally realize you were perhaps the best friend they would ever have and look forward to someday seeing you again in the peaceful presence of Jesus Christ.
Thanks for being dads, Dads.
Keep up the great work you're doing! Your reward may take a while, but all your time and investment in your family will surely pay off in the coming years (Proverbs 22:6).
May God strengthen you in your role as dads!
P.S: Hey by the way, I’m working on an eResource titled, “DADS 31-DAY PRAYER GUIDE: 31 Powerful Prayers to Help Dads Fight for the Heart of their Little Dudes and Little Sunshines.” (Coming out later this spring 2017). It’ll be a FREE resource. Sign up below if you’re a dad (or know one) and would like to receive a free copy when it’s released.
Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.