JEOPARDY

 

Name two things that Dads are good for?

 

There was a time when a Dad was the shining light in their son’s eyes. He was someone to emulate, learn from, imitate, and admire. He was their source of knowledge, comfort, and entertainment. As the first and foremost male role model in their lives, a Dad held a special place in their son’s life.

 

At least that is what other fathers have told me! If you were to ask my four sons what my primary role was in their life, you would probably get a diverse set of responses; someone to play catch with, early wrestling partner, tickle-machine and family clown.

 

Those aren’t horrible labels, lord knows I’ve heard worse, but they don’t fall into the pantheon of hallowed parental roles. And I can live with that. It is the transitional role of the father, as our kids move from childhood to adolescence, that I have always struggled with.

 

KEYS AND A WALLET

 

Dads basically become two things when the boys hit mid-teens – a set of car keys and a wallet. Mom’s are still there to bring comfort, joy, compassion and love. Dad’s, wheels and meals! Even conversations are reduced to, well, hand gestures.

 

The outstretched hand is a symbol for “Car keys now!” Then there is the outstretched hand with the forlorn look which signifies “Money for food!” While the outstretched hand in conjunction with the hound dog expression is for the infamous “Car keys and money” combo.

 

Gone are the shared passions of watching another Giants comeback fall short in the ninth inning or a familiar Arrested Development episode that still brings a laugh or two. Left behind is the Sunday morning breakfast tradition of pancakes and foamy orange juice.

 

I’LL BE RIGHT HERE IF YOU NEED ME

 

But in the end, it’s good to keep it all in perspective. I should be grateful I’m still the one holding the keys and the wallet. It won’t be long before they won’t have a need to come to meet at all. Unless, that is, they are looking for someone to play catch with or a tickle-machine!