“BLINK AND they’re gone.” “By the time they leave for college, you’ll be ready.” I lost count of how many times people said those words to Pete or to me as we corralled a wayward toddler in a busy mall or lugged either or both like squirrelly logs across the hot sands of Stinson Beach.
According to study.com, I must have blinked about 128 million times to get to where I am today, which is packing up my youngest daughter for college. We’re not alone: there are hundreds of high school seniors here in Marin embarking on their bright new futures and double that in parents, blinking away the tears as we try to look strong and not panicked — “are they ready to leave, or, to be real, am I ready for them to leave?”
June is traditionally dedicated to dads and grads. And while last month our issue reflected the theme of the month in spades (an entire issue and a big party dedicated to Celebrating Women), in this issue, the dads and grads did not quite get the same attention. Although, dads, we focused on you in Destinations with an article on five different adventures you are sure to love. The opening shot of that section features a $325,000-plus super-machine on Pismo Beach, one of the few places it is legal to drive on the sand. This luxe opportunity is available with a stay at the fabled Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel, which, because of the property’s longtime partnership with Rolls-Royce, offers (for a fee) use of a Cullinan luxury SUV for the day. If this is too much for your budget, there are plenty of dune buggy rentals and fine hotel/motels in Pismo.
On a serious note, the good dads deserve to be celebrated. I know I tend to get a bit personal in this letter (thanks for reading and bearing with), but I want to give big kudos to the fathers in our community who are making the world a better place, one self-assured, confident kid at a time. Having been raised by a single mother, I never had the chance to develop a traditional relationship with my father and because of that, I’ve never called anyone Dad. My biological father, Bob, is a great guy, but as a kid I never knew what to call him on those infrequent visits. I avoided situations where I had to say “hey, Dad” or “hey, Bob.” I would just say “hey” and wait until I caught his eye. In an unavoidable situation where I had to address him, I’d just combine the two words and it came out something like, “Daboadob.”
Until I saw my ex, Pete, in action with our daughters, I hadn’t realized the deep value of a really positive paternal parent. Both of my girls have a loving and committed father who changed diapers, read to them and cooked breakfast on the weekends, coached their soccer teams and much to their chagrin at the time, made them run the Dipsea. I know this has had a deeply beneficial impact in their lives. While I understand family and support systems come in all forms, I want to take a moment to applaud the “good” dads.
A recent article in Psychology Today made me smile. It stated that due to skewed data, there was an assumption that fathers weren’t so interested in fathering. Why? Because in the thousands of studies, when they talked to a parent it was always a mother. Oops. However, the gist of the research revealed that times have changed, and researchers are making sure to include men in their studies on parenting.
Big surprise: recent findings include statements like “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.” So this month, I challenge you to do something nice for a dad you know, or for the male person you see wrestling with a car seat in the parking lot of Starbucks. Maybe buy him a coffee. At the very least, give him a knowing smile that will remind him of the over-expressed but true sentiment, “blink and they’ll be gone.”