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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

A few days ago, I was talking with someone about the richness of Greek mythology, about how well it delineated the range of human types. I remembered having written a local newspaper column about my daughter Maddy's fascination with those stories. After digging around, I found it in my archive of columns at LaRue's Views. That particular piece, written when Maddy was four, can be found here. I would add this: Maddy's deep immersion in these tales helped to make her an emotionally intelligent soul.

I sent it along to Maddy, who expressed the perfectly reasonable desire to read more about herself when she was little. I told her to just use the Blogspot search box (upper left corner) for her name, or for the phrase "my daughter." And then I realized that I could also search for "my son," born "Perry," but who later legally changed his name to "Max," which totally suits him better. (That's another story, but a cool one: the teenager who named himself.) I spent a little time doing some of that searching and reading myself.

Maddy is now in France. In her mid-twenties, she is a surprisingly sure and mature scholar. Max is off to California now (visiting friends there), and soon to go to college in Oregon.

Max gave me a couple of Father's Day cards before he left today, which was sweet. I'm wistful. One chapter of my life has ended. I think I used to be a lot of fun, a pretty silly daddy. One of Max's cards described me as "hardworking, motivated, organized, dedicated..." That's not so bad, and it may even be true (in spots). But it marks my children's changing perception of me, and my own shifting of roles and focus. All that's natural and normal, of course. But it's still weird.

For a variety of reasons, I was absolutely terrified to be a father. But to my astonishment, I loved it. It was (and is) so fascinating and thrilling.

So to all those dads out there, what a wild ride, eh? And to my children, thank you more than I will ever be able to express.

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