It seems being a father gets more difficult every year. The responsibility and decisions keep getting bigger. It was much easier to decide between the Malibu Barbie and the Glamour Barbie. It was easier to care for them then, seeing as how they were just sleeping in the next room. If something, anything, happened in the night, I was just a cry away. I remember how hard it was watching them, as they were sick or hurting. I remember how much I wanted their aches and pains to stop. I recall how we fretted about the fevers and the scraps.
Now days, the cry in the night comes across a phone line. The hallway between our bedrooms has grown by miles. No one warned me about how tough this was going to be. When my girls were young, I could get up in the night, walk quietly into their rooms, check their fevers, pull up the covers, and steal away back into my bedroom. When they cried, we were there to wipe the tears away. When I worry these days, I just have to worry. I cannot be there to wipe away the tears now.
I thought parenting would be much easier than this. My parents made it look so easy. Being in their place now, I realize how hard it was for them. I also understand that part of it never goes away. Rightly done, parenting is forever coupled with the worry. Worry ebbs like the tide. Some days it is low tide. Some days it is high tide. Every year the decisions change. It has gone from help with homework to help picking out a good insurance company. It has changed from helping with their dolls and tea parties, to helping with the grandchildren and real dinners.
Yes, being a father has grown way beyond my original expectations. It is more difficult. It entails much longer hours than I anticipated. The choices are harder every year. When I look at my daughters, however, I cannot wait. I will worry, as I should. I will be quiet when I need be. I will be the great tower of advice. It will be much harder next year, and I can hardly wait.
Ron Simpson, Jr.
Father of Audrey, Chasity, and Heather
Fill in Father for Chris, Sierra, Chelsea, and Kyle
Father’s Day 2004