For those keeping score at home, this month will mark my 37th Father’s Day celebration as a principal, which makes me something of an authority on the subject. I also consider myself an authority on the subjects of aching knees, sporadic memory loss and sporadic memory loss, but since nobody chose to add those to the national holiday list, I’ll confine the opining here to the occasion a lot of us will observe, come June 16.
I’ll start by noting that while I’ve played a number of roles through the years, none has satisfied me like being a dad. I cherished the moment I was first cast in the part, when Matthew Vincent Youngblood entered this world head-first. I continued to revel at the births of three subsequent Young Youngbloods: Aaron Michael, Daniel Patrick and Hannah Christine. And I pretty much embraced all that transpired thereafter as my foursome teed up a life that would include cuts and scrapes, bumps and bruises and midnight calls that should have come but didn’t because, hey, why would Dad worry about his child once he/she segued from cute kid to normal teen?
Statistically speaking, I attended some 950 baseball games, most of which did not include my son being the hero; another 50 or so dance recitals, most of which did not include my daughter being set at center stage and exactly nine real graduation ceremonies, none of which included my child giving the valedictory address. No matter – I cheered, clapped and flashed an oh-so-proud smile, not just because that’s what dads are supposed to do, but because this Dad had Those Kids.
Matt, who undoubtedly gave me the most gray hairs (see the aforementioned reference to “normal teen”) now gives me chills every time one of his projects as an engineer is revealed to the public. Aaron didn’t ever push the envelope, but now he takes pictures of them – or whatever else is in the frame of the camera he uses as a cinematographer who has shot three feature-length films and a number of commercials you’ve watched or will watch on television.
Daniel, the child most like I am, was exactly like I was when he started his career as a sportswriter. Now he operates a website he created that chronicles sports happenings in the Abilene area and wins a lot of subscribers and awards doing just that. Hannah, my tiny dancer, waltzed into the classroom to follow the footsteps of her teacher-Mom and is now changing lives for the better every day.
I know she has enhanced mine, just as have her brothers. And on June 16, I will celebrate every knock on the door that represents the arrival of one of my offspring. I suspect they’ll come with presents in hand, but those are not necessary. My real gift was delivered initially during this month nearly four decades ago.
I’ve joyfully discovered that it never ceases to give, which makes me an authority on one other subject: immense gratitude born from immense blessing.
So, from one dad to Another, I just want to say: “Thank you – very much.”