The best gift from a father? More time spent with the kids

glemasurier@theolympian.comJune 17, 2012 

Dear Kids – I thought about letting you write my annual Father’s Day column this year so that you could tell the world exactly what you think of me. In a rare moment of rational thought, I decided that wouldn’t be a good idea.

Instead, I decided to tell the world what I think of you.

I can’t explain why, but in the world of adults an expression of love for children doesn’t happen often enough. Maybe it seems too sentimental and not a cool thing to do.

I know from personal experience that busy adults sometimes forget what is really important in life.

Before I became a father, I wondered why other men had pictures of their families on their desks or in their billfolds. I remember thinking if you just saw your kids at breakfast and will see them again at dinner, why do you need to look at their pictures during the day?

I realized later that these pictures provide fathers with a few precious moments away from the daily hustle.

Looking at the photographs of your cheery little faces on my own desk often transported me out of the office to a place of love and happy thoughts that overshadowed the trials and tribulations of work.

Working parents often lament that they have so little time with their children. You work to make a better life for your family. You have friends. You have your own interests. And it’s hard to find the right balance, especially with a young family.

It’s easy to take your family for granted. How many fathers have slipped into thinking their kids will be around tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, so what’s the rush, these others things seem so much more important right now.

But time passes quickly. Before you know it, holy cow, the kids have turned into adults.

You realize those hard days of “terrible twos” and dirty diapers and watching the latest Disney movie for the umpteenth time are now long behind you. You can only hope you didn’t miss anything significant.

I feel lucky that all of you have survived the usual teenage dangers. I’m grateful, and proud, that you all have jobs you love, have your own families and have contributed to your communities. Not every father gets to enjoy that.

Sometimes, when the passage of time strikes me like a bolt of lightning, I get melancholy because our moments together have provided most of the best memories of my life. I often miss the buzz of teenagers hovering around the refrigerator and our raucous card games around the kitchen table on Saturday nights.

Soon, they will be just old memories. Much too soon. As I get older, my greatest fear is that I won’t remember them at all.

I’m lucky. Some fathers don’t get to share many memories with their sons and daughters. Some fathers die young, others suffer the heartache of their children’s premature death.

Those of us blessed with our children sometimes say we don’t have enough time for them.

There is time.

The truth is we just don’t take it often enough.

ET CETERA

The kids have finished their work, and The Olympian is about to unveil the work of budding new artists to the South Sound Community. Students in the ALKI program at Reeves Middle School have hand painted scenes of seven Northwest icons on refurblished newspaper racks. They feature Mount Rainier, forests, music and urban life. And they are extremely colorful. You’ll get to see them soon as our circulation places them in locations along Fourth Avenue downtown. We’re excited about helping to make a small section of our community more visually attractive, and hope to expand the program in the future ... Hey, pet lovers! The 83rd Pet Parade is just around the corner on Saturday, Aug. 18. The theme this year is “Cartoon Crazy!” So, go nuts with your family floats and costumes. There will be a limited number of collectible buttons for sale this year.

George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or glemasurier@theolympian.com.

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