laura packardBeing a dad is tough stuff.

       There’s a lot of heavy lifting.

       A dad is usually the one who has to hoist the awkward and obscenely large ladder from the basement, unscrew all the light bulbs, mow the lawn on Sundays and carry 30 pound toddlers to bed after they have fallen fast asleep and slobbered all over their head, limbs and feet.


           A dad also has to hide a lot of stuff. Not just the last cookie, precious tools, his own car keys, extra cash and loose change so they don’t go missing when he sits down for a minute to breathe. He also has to hide when he’s scared, when he feels failure, when enough isn’t enough and he feels no one will understand.

           A dad is, a lot of times, where the buck stops, the bill has to be paid, and the hard decisions are made without fanfare, kisses or a whole heck of a lot of thanks.

           He’s also the tie- breaker, the “bad cop,” the enforcer, the protector, the hand holder, ball thrower, cuddler and puzzle fixer all rolled into one.

           Being a dad means being a lot of things.   

           One of those things is holding in a lot of stuff, hard stuff, they don’t want us to see.

           But we do.

           See it, that is.

           And this what I truly see and how I truly feel; this clarity from my window that I’ll share with you now from the view where I usually sit:

           Most of us, if we’re honest, spend a good amount of our precious time searching for a certain level of clearness, or transparency, in the way we hope to one day see the world. 

           Life, relationships, our tight-rope-walked dreams and holding-our-breath hopes rarely emerge crystallized in our heads after a few downward facing dogs or a twelve-hour sleep.

           Let’s face it. More times than not, we only get a glimpse of the “now” through a murky, muddled mess.  A smoggy, polluted haze of the wish-I-could-ve’s and the should’ve-beens.

           It’s not like the simple easy first few steps of childhood, the wide-eyed innocence of infancy;a small stride, a crooked grin. For me, my clarity came in the early movements of my youth; a twirl, an extended arm, a warm palm, my own ballet shoes dancing atop my father’s slippered feet. 

           It’s easy to forget sometimes how wonderful it is to be loved like that. No strings, or what ifs, no what could have beens.

           My bay window in my study where I write looks out across the porch. I love it; this shell tabby material thing that belongs to just me. Maybe because it protrudes from the house on its own, with nothing under it, weightless but sound in structure and intent. Or maybe it’s because I can see my kitchen and breakfast room table on the other side through another bay window… this one, though, firmly planted on a concrete slab and surrounded by shiny teak.

           But see, it doesn’t matter. Rain, sun, fog, tears; I can always be a voyeur into part of my life from the past that belongs in my daughters present now.

           I watch my husband make my daughters laugh . . . hard . . . their heads thrown back while their bellies shake. I see them deep in concentration over a math equation, a bad day, or maybe just trying to decide what snack to eat.

  I smile as I see his hand extend, and they dance without music, chest on cheek . . . and I can’t help but think . . .

           How wonderful it is to be loved like that.

           Happy Father’s Day! We see you dads. We really do. And we love you right back.