KARZMER: Be thankful for dads and being one
This week I find myself in a predicament regarding the traditional Father’s Day column. In the past, I’ve tried to pay tribute to other fathers. Mine obviously. As well as other “dads” and grandfathers who have helped shape the lives of us kids.
But this year, not knowing how many more years I’ll be afforded this space, I think I’m going to take a minute to share my thoughts on being a father
Just more than one year ago, my wife and I had our second daughter, Vivienne. A dad to two girls. Include my wife Beth and I’m guaranteed to be outnumbered by beautiful girls my whole life. I get asked more than I thought I would: “Are you going to try for a boy?” I always answer with a diplomatic “who knows?” But the truth of it is, I’m the luckiest guy in the world ... and I definitely don’t feel the need to “try” for anything other than what I have right now.
But that’s not to say being a dad isn’t trying. I may be more analytical than others, but I feel like I’m trying all the time.
I try to give my daughters proper direction. To teach them not just right from wrong. But to instill within them with the values to want to do right from wrong.
I try to teach them the importance of working hard for something you want. While also providing them with enough of what they want to still be a “fun dad.”
I try to give them a great home life. Which means balancing work and play for myself. And certainly includes keeping a great relationship with my wife Beth. Because if there’s one thing my two girls should constantly see, it’s a happy mommy being treated correctly.
And more than anything, I try to remember to stay happy in the present. It’s amazing how many times (a day? week? month?) I catch myself worrying. Worrying about money. Educations. Our home. Sleep schedules. Retirement. Sicknesses. Disciplines. Child care. The topics are endless!
I sometimes find it difficult when my daughter Stella comes and gets me at 3 a.m. and says she needs me to sleep with her. But then I remind myself that in the not too far off future she won’t want me in her room at all, let alone to sleep with her in her bed.
I’ll catch myself getting frustrated at chasing Vivi for two straight hours in the evenings. But then I remind myself that in the blink of an eye I’ll be chasing her down the driveway as she drives herself off as a young adult.
There are times when we’re all playing together that I try to step back, to watch my girls smiling, laughing, having fun, and I try to take my own mental “movie.” I can see my older self watching this very moment on a homemade movie; for some reason it’s always on one of those old 8mm screens. Grainy pictures with lines and black spots. Staticky sounds and the perpetual noise of the projector in the background displaying faded images of what our family once was.
I’m aware that I’m living the days Beth and I will look back on with watery longing eyes. And in that rare case when I’m able to “remove myself,” sit back, and take it all in, I’m filled with such contentment I almost feel guilty that I get to have these girls in my life.
And maybe that can be a part of what Father’s Day is all about. Yes, we certainly want to pay tribute to our fathers. To mine — Pa, you’re my first and biggest hero and I’ll always love you and want to make you proud.
But to all of us fathers, in between the meals and the presents, the golf and the drinks, the praises and the specialness that others shower upon us, maybe we can use Father’s Day as a reminder to be thankful for our present. For being a dad in the first place.
Stella and Vivienne, I do hope you take up golf. I think it could be a fun activity for our family for many years. But the truth of the matter is, whether it’s tennis or bowling. Jogging or softball. Heck, synchronized swimming or dancing in a tutu. I would do any activity you two cared about and actually wanted to do with me.
Because in the end, you’ll always be my baby girls. And nothing will ever make me happier than being your daddy.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at Jonah@thekarzmerinsurance.com.