I thought I knew what love was. I read about it. Did some Shakespeare, when I was younger, that dealt with the topic. (yes I did some acting). But mostly I watched my parents and I thought I understood what love was. I was wrong, and it is my son who is teaching me what love is.
It was Fathers’ Day yesterday. I once thought the day was just about giving my Dad something. When I got older I thought the day was created only to sell stuff. Now that I am a Father I know more about the history of the day.
Recognizing and celebrating fathers in the USA started because of Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. There is a lot of folklore around Sonora about her possible reasons for wanting to honor men who choose to be fathers. Her father was a Civil War veteran who raised his family alone after his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. Sonora was 16 years old when her mother died. Sonora pushed for a way to thank men who choose to be fathers and she succeeded for the first observance of Father’s Day occurred on June 19, 1910.
A Fathers’ Day gift is not tangible. My son started giving the gift when he first held my finger. He is 21 months old and I sometimes wounder who is teaching who.
Just like Mothers’ Day the three of us went for a paddle. We went back to Weedon Island and rented a tandem kayak from Sweetwater Kayaks. Tandem kayaks do serve a particular purpose. For me they are a floating toy for my son to explore the cool things that adults sometimes take for granted.
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This time, my time on the water was not about how far I was going to go, or about the cool things that live in our waterways. It was about floating near the mangroves, in the shallows, watching my son be himself.
We were on the water for 90 minutes. And like every time I am on the water the time rushes by. My wife could not believe how fast time just flew by. Speaking of flying…we saw a rosy spoonbill, night heron, and a tricolor heron. I even showed my wife a crown conch snail… My son also discovered my orange whistle on my PFD (buoyancy aid for my UK friends). Guess what, he discovered he can make music with it. So now he is running around our home with it.
We only paddled around in a circle, and yet we covered so much. We have so much cool stuff to enjoy. All I will say is I pray that my son will continue to have the real thing to play in and not just have pictures to reminisce about.
We ended our time on the water helping Chad of Sweetwater Kayaks wash the kayak. My son was so curious about what we were doing that he wanted to help. He squeezed the garden hose nozzle and a small burst of water went up into the air. We all cheered and he laughed. The laugh of one’s child is the greatest gift and the essence of Fathers’ Day. Thanks Dad, – Jeff