Father’s Day Feels Different This Year

A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, R. stepped up onto a stage set in the middle of an empty high school stadium. The principal called her name. She walked across the stage, accepted her diploma, and moved the tassel across her cap.

Just like that, I was — am — dad to a high school graduate. And the gravity of what I’ve been doing since September 6, 2001, has never felt weightier.

img_a807d1926a3c-1I began blogging on Father’s Day 17 years ago. R. was not quite 2. This is what I wrote in that first post:

Among the many changes fatherhood wreaks on a man’s life is the destruction of any significant chunks of personal time. When you consider yourself a writer who happens to have a day job, this is a major negative, in that one of the things serious writing requires is, well, significant chunks of personal time.
Hence this blog. Here I hope to post my thoughts — sometimes serious, often not — on things that matter to me and things I find interesting. My New Yorker debut will have to wait until my sweet, wonderful daughter generously returns some of my time to me.

(I wrote some other stuff, too, and some of its naïveté makes me cringe. I’ll post some thoughts on that later.)

That sweet, wonderful daughter is, on this Father’s Day, researching dorm furnishings as I write this. She will depart for college in August — coronavirus willing — and somehow nearly 19 years have elapsed in blindingly fast fashion. Parenting is the ultimate make-it-up-as-you-go activity. When R. begins her freshman year, I can only hope that J. and I have made it up well enough to have given her the values to help her learn more about the person she wants to be, and the tools to help her get there.

That would be the ultimate, best Father’s Day gift any dad could ever receive. Even better than debuting in The New Yorker.| DL

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