The Father’s New Roles

photo(That title is supposed to be a play on “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” but it really has nothing to do with that fable. Or does it…)

This year brought several firsts to my dad for Father’s Day: For the first time on Father’s Day, my dad is a grandfather and a father-in-law.

You see, my sister got married last year around July 1. A few seconds later, she was pregnant. She gave birth to Anna Charlotte 9 months later, and she’s been the darling of the family ever since.

The two new roles of my father overlap quite a bit because of baby Anna’s tumultuous disposition. She struggles with tummy issues, and if she’s not sleeping or eating, she’s crying. It’s been tough on my sister and her husband, and tough on Anna.

That’s where my dad (grandpa/father-in-law) comes in. Whenever he has access to Anna (which is often, since my parents live a short drive from my sister), he picks her up, cradles her in his arms or in her papoose, and walks around with her until she falls asleep. My dad loves the outdoors and Anna seems to respond well to nature, so if it’s nice out, these walks take place outside. These walks provide a nice reprieve for my sister and her husband.

I called Dad today to wish him a happy Father’s Day, and I asked him if he was getting enough attention among all the other activity this weekend (Anna was baptized today). He replied that he didn’t need or want more attention, but rather that his happiest moments were walking around the yard with Anna. Eventually he settled down on the hammock, and Anna fell asleep on his chest.

Our fathers’ roles change over time. Sometimes they are providers, other times they are our biggest fans or our teachers or our disciplinarians. Sometimes they comfort us, give us advice, or tell us they’re proud of us. And sometimes they become more than just a father–they become a grandfather or father-in-law, and we get to see them share the gifts they’ve given us all our lives with other people. All of those things make a father.

When my dad picked up the phone today, before I could wish him a happy Father’s Day, he wished me a happy Father’s Day (for the uninitiated, I don’t have kids). For a second I thought he was talking about my cats, but he quickly clarified that he was talking about me giving birth to another board game. As someone who has yet to give my dad a grandchild, I thought that was pretty cool.

To all the fathers, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, step fathers, coaches, and big brothers of the world–and especially my dad–I hope you had a happy Father’s Day.

2 thoughts on “The Father’s New Roles”

  1. Super sweet post Jamey! I love how you get the importance of Fathers/men with valuable roles. I hope all Fathers and even just the men who have young children in their lives truly understand the great role they are given by God to play in these precious lives! They are an irreplaceable figure, and can do great things for them or leave them scarred for life by their actions/inactions (speaking from experience here). I thank God everyday for the wonderful husband/father to my children I was given. He’s amazing! Happy (belated) Father’s Day to all the men who take it seriously! You guys ROCK!

    • Thanks Leandra! That’s very sweet of you to appreciate the fathers and father figures of the world. 🙂


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