Don't give up hope, Dads

Father’s Day is coming soon, though wouldn’t most women tell you that Father’s Day is every day to some extent? When daddy walks in the door, the little children rush to hug his legs. They’re so happy to see him, they’re practically Jack Russell terriers, jumping up and down in a hubbub and making a racket of howls and hullabaloo. Notice I said children and that I did not equate to teenagers. No, teenagers are more like cats, lounging on the couch, legs outstretched, eyes closed, and when dad opens the door they sound almost bored when they lazily state, “Oh, hey dad – you’re home.” It’s an aloof, practiced monotone that cats would use if they could talk. They probably can, but we’ll never know. We barely know a teenager has speaking capabilities.

Dads, I want to give you hope. Don’t get down on yourself because your offspring aren’t all that you’d planned for. In 1964, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall recovered a fumble and ran 66 yards…the wrong way, into his own end zone for a safety. Despite this, the Vikings defeated the 49ers, 27-22. God can take what you think are disasters and turn them into something great, but sometimes you just have to wait. Gar has two plaques by his desk, “Dear Lord, grant me the patience to endure my blessings” and, “Fatherhood is full of challenges but eventually they move out.” So, chin up dads, your offspring love you, even your teenagers, because they know, “A father is a banker provided by nature.”

Until last year, our son Tanner and daughter-in-law Wendy owned a home on Bass Hole Bay in Florida. I was a little sad when they sold it because I liked to joke that I hoped nobody forgot their Bs. Their home was hit by Hurricane Sally and it took months for their contractor to finally get to the repairs, and since the damage was extensive, it took a significant amount of time to renovate. Sometimes the crews would have to do projects somewhere else for a few days before resuming work back at the kids’ place. Tanner and Wendy were far more tolerant than I would have been and though it was a long process, we rarely heard them speak a discouraging word.

It's a riddle where 3-year-old Ryder got the idea to say it, but one afternoon he embarrassed his mom in what I felt was a comical incident that wouldn’t have been chucklesome if his mother wasn’t so gentle and soft spoken. Ryder was holding his mom’s hand while going to the car and, as they walked through several men working, Ryder chirped, “Hi.” And one man, laboring under the scaffolding, kindly said, “Hi” back. Ryder immediately looked up at his sweet, patient, precious mother and said, “He’s not a jerk, he said hi.”

A few days after that, Ryder’s older brother Weston, who was not quite 5, overheard his mother answer the phone, saying “Hello,” then, “Yes, just a moment, I’ll get Dr. Eiden for you.” Our son, Weston’ s dad, took the phone, spoke into it for a bit then ended the call. Weston, looking thoughtful and chewing his lip, came to sit by his dad, declaring, “Dad, I didn’t know you were a doctor.” Tanner tousled his little boy’s hair and said, “Ya, man, I’m a doctor, what did you think I was?” Shrugging his shoulders, Weston paused then confessed, “I didn’t know, but I thought you were a waiter.”

That same week, our daughter Lunny was in Florida visiting Tanner and Wendy and enjoying some of her nieces and nephews. One morning she went to have her hair done and though she’d had the same hairdresser for a couple of years, on this day, the beautician must have had a difficult time or maybe just a bad day, because the color came out brassy gold and peculiar. When Lunny got back to the house, she took the kids to the park to play, spending the afternoon with them. That night, after Wendy had tucked her children into bed, she skillfully put toner on Lunny’s damaged hair, masterfully transforming the tresses, so the outcome created a beautiful result. When Weston went to bed, aunt Lunny’s hair was obviously different than when he woke up and, unlike most males on earth, he noticed. At breakfast, sitting across from his aunt, he studied her, then finally with absolute sincerity, he earnestly commented, “Aunt Wunny, I wike yer hair, did you wash it?”

Trena Eiden     [email protected]