Celebrate[d] My Father’s Day Dilemma

It’s summer 2001, my wife Megan is behind the wheel of our white Dodge 4×4 truck, she’s maneuvering it to the top of Mt. Ashland in southern Oregon. I’m in the passenger seat, the boys, Kyle[9] and Eric[7] are in the back seat, nervously staring out their windows. Butterflies are swarming beneath our jackets as we wait for the ski lodge to appear, this will be the starting point for the days adventure.

Megan, the wisest of our crew by far, is more than happy to provide our one-way shuttle to the top. But unlike us, her ride down will involve heated seats and the safety of the truck cab.

Our driver hits the brakes as we reach the top of the mountain, instantly our truck doors fly open and we unload our precious cargo. Three mountain bikes. Within a few excited and anxious minutes, Kyle, Eric and I gear up and pedal ourselves over the edge towards our 13-mile single track descent to the valley floor. Downtown Ashland, here we come.

I don’t have a lot of experience being on the son side of the father-son relationship, so I’ve tried to do things with my boys I wish I had experienced as I was growing up.

When I was younger, Father’s Day would roll around, and I would usually find myself looking in the mirror. I would spend time looking at my experiences and emotions around being a son without a present or engaged dad. I would focus on myself and miss my father, or what that represented in my mind.

Fortunately, that’s changed. Watching my boys grow I have come to appreciate Father’s Day from a different angle. I can’t control or change my experience as a son, but I absolutely have control over the experience I have as a father. The feelings my boys will have regarding Father’s Day are up to me.

Today, I choose to celebrate Father’s Day by being grateful. I’m fortunate to be a father, especially to a couple of amazing boys, who have somehow become men overnight. They’ve made me laugh, cry, ride bikes down mountains and even jump out of perfectly good airplanes a few times.

These two inspire me to be a little better every day, and I hope I make them as proud as they make me.

Father’s Day, to celebrate or to be celebrated…I’ll take both.