Being a Dad for Twenty Cents

Father's Day comes around about this time each year it seems. I am always surprised by it, as I have a fairly busy life. This day causes me to remember my father throughout the years. His wisdom always was unshakable and I am fortunate to still have him around. I also think of the years when my children were growing up.

There is no training or practice run at being a dad. It happens that all of a sudden, “poof,” you're in the daddy seat! I reminisce about how fast time slips by and how quickly little children become big children and then become grown children. Then, before you know it, they become parents!

This day a particularly amusing incident comes to mind. Two of my kids, which shall remain anonymous for reasons of … aw, forget that. It was Vanessa and Rochelle.

I came home from work on said day and plopped myself onto the ridiculously uncomfortable couch that served as the only socially acceptable piece of furniture in our tiny cabin. The girls had learned an interesting fact in their science class that day and wanted to try it on me.

Vanessa made a fist and declared that it was not possible for me to pry it open. Well, the science was good up to a certain point, but Vanessa was probably about six and Rochelle was about four. We were mismatched by nearly two hundred pounds and it took about a half second to pry Vanessa's hand open and tickle her palm.

Rochelle was either following suit, or perhaps she just thought Vanessa had not applied herself fully. Either way, she insisted that I attempt to pry her hand open. Naturally, that was easy as well.

The girls fell back into a huddle and emerged with renewed determination. We had an instant replay of the first round, then the girls insisted that I make a fist. I presented them each a fist. They worked so hard at trying to pry my hands open that I got fingernail scratches all over my hands.

After another huddle and conference, the girls wanted to know how I could withstand their onslaught so decisively and effortlessly defeat them at this game of physics. So we had a discussion about size and muscles. We compared biceps and hand size. We may even have talked about mass and relativity, who knows. We go to those kinds of places in our conversations.

I knew they were trying to come up with a winning strategy, but that was not going to be possible. I could tell they were agitated that their efforts were fruitless. And that's when I had the epiphany!

I challenged that I could pry their fists open without touching them.

They had a brief conference and returned with tightly clenched fists. I reached into my pocket and pulled out two dimes. I held one in each hand over their fists and … violá, those tiny fists opened like popcorn! I dropped the dimes into their open hands and they were elated and annoyed in what can only be described as a childhood conundrum.

That was yesterday and we were in Alaska. Today they are grown.

Father's Day is a great reminder to savor that which is most precious.