Many years ago, when my oldest was very young, I heard a roundtable discussion on CBC Radio’s Sunday morning program. A few male reporters were talking about fatherhood. Being a new father at the time, I wanted to hear some sage advice from them and learn the secrets of the universe.
I was all ears until I heard one say what he thought was best about being a father was receiving unconditional love.
That discussion has stayed in my head ever since because the guy got it wrong. The best thing about being a father is, I believe, giving unconditional love. We get the opportunity to support, love and believe in our kids free of the emotional politics or baggage that exist in our other relationships.
Fast forward to this Father’s Day just passed. All 3 of my kids and I went to the lovely Albion Falls. I had never been there in all the years I lived here, but I have certainly heard how beautiful it is.
Having never been, I had no idea what to expect. Apparently I have the reputation as being the adventurous parent, which I understand to mean that I try to do the new stuff.
This is relevant because, when we arrived at Albion Falls I thought for a moment that I might be making a gargantuan mistake. It wasn’t just a lookout and a nice path like at Niagara Falls. We were going to have to climb down a fairly rocky trail. Rachel immediately went looking for the right way down. Rebecca was a little hesitant, but wonderfully supportive of her brother and sister. Daniel protested, often very loudly, about me holding hss hand the whole way down.
Daniel’s displeasure–sometimes very loud displeasure–and Rachel’s very colourful dress must have seemed out of place to people sunning themselves on a gorgeous warm day. I couldn’t imagine a funnier looking group, although I did see a guy in tie come down later.
We clambered over rocks, walked through the water, wending our way to get as close to the bottom of the cascades as we could. When we stopped, Rebecca made a great discovery when she found a piece of copper on a rock, Rachel make a stone tower and Daniel kept wanting to press on.
In other words, we made it. The thrill for me was that we did it together. This was an adventure for all of us. I never imagined that each of my kids would have anything other than a great time or that they wouldn’t be able to do it.
If I wanted to receive unconditional love, we could have gone to the mall or the indoor play gym. Instead, I gave my kids my love and support; whatever their challenges may be, we could work together in this beautiful space and experience something magical together.
My kids constantly amaze me with what they can achieve. In return, they let me amaze myself with how much I love being a dad.