Cherishing Every Dad Moment: Caps and Gowns Will Remind Me

parenting and graduation

Photo Credit: CarbonNYC via Compfight cc

Last weekend, my wife and three children pulled out of the driveway for a week at camp, laden with bug spray and sleeping bags and giddy anticipation. I waved goodbye and went back in the house.

Truth is, I was as excited as they were. I had been anticipating the moment for weeks, and I could literally feel the stillness and silence of the empty house—no kids jumping on the couch and landing on their heads, no siblings fighting over inane objects, no juice being spilled, no mud being tracked across floors, no one asking for this or that.

No one asking me to be more than me.

I reveled in it, deeply. For a while…then I got hungry and headed to a local sandwich shop. I placed my order and waited.

Standing next to me in line was a mother with three children. The kids were goofy, moving constantly, doing everything she asked them not to do. She looked at me helplessly, apologized, and asked if I had kids.

I told her I had three kids, who had left for camp that morning. I tried not to look too gleeful.

Then, with her children listening, she gushed, “You are so lucky. So, so lucky. Last year, my daughter went to camp and it was so nice.”

I felt sick to my stomach.

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You can read the rest of this week’s post on Babble.com by clicking here.

Babble is “a platform dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent and open conversation about parenting,” and it is supported by the Walt Disney Company. In the future, I will be periodically blogging for Disney Dads, a division of Babble. And I’ll be sure to always invite you.

So, come on over here to finish reading my first guest post!

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Comments: You can share your thoughts or reactions at the bottom of this post or at Babble.com.

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Preview: This week’s planned post, “Why I Cried at a Kindergarten Soccer Game” was preempted by this guest blogging opportunity. It will be my next post, on July 17.

Disclaimer: This post is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association.

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Vanessa Portaro

    wow…… reality check!!!! my daughter has several disabilities including spina bifida and autism… there are so many things that i never thought i would still be doing 15 years later and at times the thought of having to expel THAT much energy ONE MORE TIME in my day really drains me…. and i’m sure it shows, and i’m sure sometimes – she is aware. however, you are so completely right… it is an honour and a privilege to be my daughter’s mother…. i have learned more about being human during my sojourn with her than i did in all my life before she existed and for that i am eternally grateful.. she is my hero and i hope i can remember to tell her that and show her how precious she is to me more times than i sigh with despair at tired i am. i am so glad i am not alone….

    • drkellyflanagan

      Vanessa, You’re daughter is blessed to have you as a mother, to have someone caring for her who is willing to live in that tension of love and exasperation. Thank you as always for sharing, Vanessa!

  • Craig

    Kelly life full of irony, even in moments of respite from our role as daily parent. I thanks for reminding us of that this week. Interesting that you found yourself in a theater seeing a film about the classic story of a child seeking the presence of his dad.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Interesting observation, Craig! Especially given that this reboot really emphasizes his relationships with his two fathers. It just so happens the day I was sitting in the theater was Father’s Day, too. I guess a post about being a dad was pretty much inevitable! : )