Being A Father Is The Greatest Gift Of All

Molly Infant

Molly pictured with my mother and father, Mary (Beaty) and Bill Claywell.

Although I have written about my father on several occasions, I do not believe I have written about being a father. Maybe because I am too close to the subject. Maybe because it feels a little too personal.

I am an old Dad. I was 36* when my daughter was born and although I have never regretted waiting, I can see a disadvantage. Since I am in my early 50s, I see the future more clearly than a younger father. I have watched life unfold. It is not that I’m cynical, pessimistic or negative, it’s just that I do know how some things will work out. As a student of life, I have watched actions, and their impending results, play out over and over.

This can be hard on a teen because a less, life-experienced father may be more accommodating.

I’m a not suggesting I have a bad child. Hardly. She is a teen, so we have had some clashes during her high school years, but she is a great person who will leave the world better than she found it. She will learn from all the situations that come her way. She will continue to follow her true north. But as an old Dad, I do want to protect her a little more than most. I do not want any hardships to come her way. I want to solve her problems.

She doesn’t need that.

In a world of celebrity, causes and abrasive reality, my job is to be authentic: to show my faults, fears and weaknesses as well as my hopes, strengths and dreams. Life is definitely an unrehearsed play, but it unwinds in a path tied to our core beliefs. I would not trade places with my daughter for all the money in the world. Being 50-something is extremely easy compared to being a high school student. In the artificial environment of high school a lot of peer-level push and pull exists. It is a challenge to find, and listen to, that still small voice that guides us all. High school is, all too often, filled with people with a misguided interpretation of YOLO and teens trying to be unique by mimicking the behavior of their peers.

Even adults can let them down

Some days, I remember more of my parenting failures than I should. I remember the times I overreacted, overcorrected and over responded. The times I made a mountain out of a mole hill. Those times were unfair and hard on her. I was the adult, I should have behaved accordingly. But, what is amazing, is my daughter’s ability to work past my shortcomings. It is truly a pleasure watching her become the independent, intelligent and hard-working individual she is today. It brings me joy.

It’s a gift I will always cherish.
*I re-read this entry after it posted and realized my math was wrong. I was, in fact, 35 when Molly was born. The error though makes my point since I am old enough to have a faulty memory (or poor math skills).

Categories: Personal Essays | Tags: , ,

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