Sunday, June 19, 2016

Reflections on Father's Day

This is the 21st year I’ve celebrated Father’s Day as a dad rather than just being able to wish my dad, grandfathers, and the one great-grandfather I had when I was born “Happy Father’s Day.”  This year continued some traditions, marked certain changes, and is another opportunity for me to reflect on this gift in my life—being a father.

One tradition that has developed over the past seven years is running the GBMC Father’s Day 5k.  The first year I did it with only my then 10 year old and ran at his pace.  For the next five years, I ran at my pace and got various age group awards. In the third year, I had all three of my sons run with me and that was quite special.  This year, having just done my first ultramarathon three weeks ago, I was not ready to compete for an age group award, so I stuck with my 11 year old.  He had a good day but not a great one.  We did a run-walk combination and still came in under 30.  We brought home no hardware this year as he is at an age where moving from one age group to the next makes it more challenging (he move from 10 and under to 11-15) and I am in an age group in which getting older doesn’t help but when I move up, it should make placing a little easier.  Still, I had time with just my 11 year old and that is priceless.

Another tradition is driving my middle son to his boychoir camp.  We’ve been doing that for almost a decade.  This year is the longest drive as they have had to change the location.  But it is still good and that is a special way to spend time with him. 

In past years, I have spent at least a part of Father’s Day with each of my three boys.  This year, I won’t see my oldest on Father’s Day.  He is at a 4 week National Orchestra Institute in College Park.  I believe this is the first year that not all of my immediate family will be together on Father’s Day.  But I am sure that is just a sign of things to come as all three of my boys grow up and move into their adult lives.

Three of the other four members of my family (including me) did see Christopher yesterday in College Park.  He played in a concert with three really interesting pieces of music including Jeux by Debussy and Mahler’s Symphony No 1.  It was nice seeing him and he did take the time to wish my Happy Father’s Day by text early this morning.

Seeing him last night as part of the Father’s Day weekend also illustrated the evolving nature of answering the question “who is part of family I want to spend time with on or around Father’s Day?” When we went to see him, we invited his girlfriend Bailey with us.  She had dinner with me, Sherry, and our middle son.  The dinner, the concert, and the conversation during the car rides there and back were all nice. 

It is a blessing to be able to welcome people into the family over time.  Bailey is just one example.  Another big change for the 5k was that this was the first time since 2013 that Lauren was not running as part of the Frick running clan and I had known she was running at least in 2013 and 2012 before she formally became part of the clan in 2014.  She is away in Hawaii for a wedding this year but she wished me a Happy Father’s Day yesterday.  We have become the type of friends who are like family and given the age difference, the “running dad-running daughter” relationship has just been a natural one for us to fall into as she has only had her mom since I’ve known her. 

It is a gift to be a dad.  I could not do it without Sherry by my side to raise our three boys and to welcome others into the family as the boys grow up and form their relationships.  It is a gift to share with others.  It is a gift to have others who want to experience that sharing and share in return.  It is a gift to have the chance to help build people up over time and to see what comes of it as those I work to build up try and succeed or try and fail but always learn and always grow.  That is what makes every day of being a dad special.  It is what I think about on Father’s Day.  And given the amazing people who either are my kids or are like my kids or could become kids in law some day, I can only wait to see what the next year brings.