Fatherly Wisdom: Be Present

My dad is a hard worker. He traveled to shows to sell his artwork, and also was running the rest of the company. This meant a lot of long days with the staff and the like. I never resented it, I never questioned it. I always knew I was loved despite not seeing him a ton.

This is why...

Maybe once every month or two, we would have a boys' night. Just me and him. To clarify, he also did the same with my siblings with their own special outing. There was a mall maybe 15-20 minutes from our house. First we'd go wander through Sports Authority (not sure if that exists anymore), then have a steak at Outback (nothing mind-blowing quality-wise, but we certainly splurged on all the fun foods). Finally we'd step next door and catch a movie at the theater.

In those times, he was completely present. It was "my" time and something to look forward to. Just as important, it was consistent. I didn't know it then, but he shared it with me when we went on a 2 week trip to the national parks in 2021. There were plenty of times he was dealing with crippling anxiety, stress and overwhelm at work. You could never have told the difference. He did an amazing job of being "in the moment."

I felt important.

I felt valued.

I felt loved.

When I consider the events that I cherish now (sharing a meal with friends and having a great conversation or hanging out with my wife on a Friday night watching a movie with our dog), it takes me back to those evenings with him. It reminds me that no matter the other problems outside of that moment, who and what is in front of me is the most important. It grounds me and allows me to connect with the people who I'm fortunate enough to share my life with.

Looking back on your life, you’re not going to care about the bills. The squabbles with employees. The looming deadlines.

You’re going to care about the ones you love. The times you laughed together. You cried together. You smiled together. The experiences you shared that you can never recreate. In those times…

Be "in the room."

Be connected.

Be present.

You'll be grateful you did.

And so will the ones who will remember you were “there” with them.

Until next time...

Love. Every. Body.

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