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It's cool to celebrate dads.
Dads are great. With this greatness comes great love and responsibility.
That responsibility changes with time.
In our youth, we look up to Dad for his strength, literally — he's big and can lift us. He often does, along with all of our toys and other possessions. If we decide to go play at an aunt's house and want to take our dolls and dollhouse, it isn't us, but our dad who carries it all up three flights of stairs to the front door. Dad's so strong.
If we're boys, it's Dad who teaches us how to roughhouse and play ball. He tosses us in the air when we're littlest and tosses us the ball when we start to play games.
As we evolve into teenagers, it's dad who keeps an eye on the boys we choose to like. Or shows approval when the girl a son has an eye on reminds him of our mother. He wants us to have boyfriends and girlfriends, friends who will treat us well and care for us and our well-being as much as he does.
As much as a father loves a son, he cherishes his daughter. There's a special bond between father and son as well as father and daughter, and the time spent together talking and walking the dog builds a foundation for communication through a lifetime. Dad answers our questions and listens to us think through the important teenage decisions.
By listening to us, Dad learns what interests us and begins to guide us toward our college or other goals. He wants us to be happy, but by now he also desires that we're able to earn a living and take the other steps necessary to make it on our own.
His fatherly duties continue to change as we take on more of the responsibility for our lives and decisions. It's up to us to take a greater role in preparing for the future. We get a job, we go to college, we get married, we start a family. We become dads, and moms, and hopefully we've learned from our dad to handle that responsibility.
As we become a dad, Dad's name changes to "Grandpa." He starts a new role — spoiler and best friend to his grandchildren. He attends their school programs and activities; perhaps baseball is a favorite, where Gramps relives his days on the mound or behind the plate.
Gramps might not be up to a turn around the bases any longer — at least not at the speed of his youth. He's a little slower (a lot smarter); but he's always there.
Then one day he isn't. He's run as far as he could, and for a few years Father's Day becomes of much less importance to us. But with time, and as new fathers — dads to our grandchildren, nieces and nephews or dads who fill in for absent fathers — come on the scene, once again it feels cool to celebrate Father's Day.
It's a new time, with new dads and the same old responsibility. And with it, lots of love.
To all the dads out there, Happy Father's Day.