Friday, June 18, 2010

Dude or Dad

    This weekend, all across America, families will come together and honor their dads by making them stand around a hot grill and cook up the family meal.  This neck tie is for you, Dad!  And any dad worth his weight in gold will wear it proudly.  Because that is what dads do.  So, how can you tell a dad from a dude?  Simple.
     A dad's nightstand holds a picture of a smiling tot, pasted inside a homemade Popsicle stick frame, with the words "to the best dad in the whole world" scribbled across the top stick.  A dude's nightstand resembles a wooden crate standing on it's end with a bandanna thrown over the top as a disguise, and would never be sturdy enough to bear the weight of a child's creativity.

     Any day of the week, in any corner pub, you will find some dudes hanging out, playing darts and drinking beer.  Any day of the week, in any living room, you will find a dad hanging out, playing Go Fish and drinking kool-aid.

     Dad decorates his office with the drawings his offspring have made for him.  Dudes populate their offices with photos of themselves engaging in their favorite hobbies or sports.

     When a dad takes a vacation he packs 15 pairs of shorts, none of them his, 3 bottles of sunscreen, four bags of toys, books, and snacks.  One portable DVD player, five cartoons, a special blankie, the spiderman pillow and a GIANT bottle of aspirin.  When a dude leaves on vacation, he tosses a swimsuit, one pair of shorts and two shirts into a duffel bag and he is good to go.

     A dad places his own wants and needs dead last, behind even the family pet.  A dude fulfills his own wants and needs first and foremost.

     Most dads were once dudes.  Some men stay dudes even when they're dads. 

     The truth is, it's only very recently that dads have received much attention.  Father's Day wasn't even declared a national holiday until 1972.  For centuries, dads were the ones that went out and earned a living to support their growing broods.   They weren't expected to lend a hand in the raising of the children.  Doctor appointments, dance recitals and teacher conferences were the domain of mom.  A dad's hard earned money put food on the table, a roof over their heads and that was that.  His job was over once he came home from work.

     My dad races cars, and as a child I dreamt of becoming a race car driver myself.  My younger brother informed me that I could never become one since I was a girl.   My dad replied, "Don't listen to him.  You can be anything you want." 
Those words have done more to nourish my soul than any meal he's ever provided could hope to.  Happy Father's Day to dads everywhere.


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