A Father’s Day Interview With The World’s BEST Father (No, Seriously, The BEST)

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Seeing as it will be Father’s Day on Sunday, I thought it would be fitting to write a post for all of the fathers out there. The thing is, though, I’m not a dad. Nor will I ever be. So, I decided to seek out an expert source to help with this one. Lucky for you, dear reader, I managed to secure The World’s BEST Father (that’s his official title) for an exclusive Father’s Day interview.

With over 32 years of fathering experience, he has enough wisdom to fill entire internet blogs (but for the sake of brevity, we’ll keep this to one post for now). He has survived raising not one, not two, but THREE daughters into adulthood (including a *charming* oldest child and twins, who all happened to be teenagers in overlapping years. Can you imagine the drama he’s witnessed?). He is, in short, a saint. He is also my father.

Here’s a snapshot of my dad’s take on this whole fatherhood experience:

We Love Teach Grow: Hi, Dad! Are you ready to spill the beans on what it’s like to be The World’s Best Dad?

Dad: Hi, honey. I’m only the world’s best dad because I have the world’s best daughter.*
(*Intro sequence imagined by the author)

WLTG: Seriously, Dad, what is the best part of being a father?

Dad: Honestly, just having your kids tell you that they love you!

WLTG: Awww…I love you, Dad! See, this is why you’re The World’s Best Dad! I’m obviously not a dad, but I have a husband who’s a dad and loads of friends who are dads. What is some advice you would give to other dads who are just starting out with this whole fatherhood gig?

Dad: There will be times…lots of times…where it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You brought this new person into the world, and now you have to provide for it…it’s a huge burden to carry. I realize now–and I wish I would have realized earlier–that it’s not my burden to carry alone. First, marry a wife who will be a great mother. And then, when you have children, lean on God. The Bible says that God will “never leave you nor forsake you”, and that goes for parents, too! When you feel the heaviness of parenting weighing you down, lean on God and He will help you. That, and just love your kids.

WLTG: I feel like I need that reminder all the time! What else would you advise fathers, maybe as their children get older?

Dad: You only have your children for a short while. Parenting is essentially a process of letting go, little by little. It starts when they are babies and they begin to crawl and walk and explore on their own, then you realize they are their own person, and you have to let go a little. Then your kids are in elementary school and they want to go to their friend’s house for their first sleepover, and you have to let go a little bit more. And then they’re teenagers and they want to DRIVE, and you have to let go a lot. And then they start college and get married, and you just have to keep letting go. In the end, you realize that they belong to God, not you, and you have been entrusted with them for a time. As you’re letting go, remember that they still belong to God, and He still has them.

WLTG: I can’t even talk about driving or college… Moving on. You raised three daughters and, I have to say, they all turned out GREAT. What tips do you have specifically for fathers of girls?

Dad: I’ll say this again: Just love them. Watch their ballet recitals. Learn how to make a ponytail or “princess hair”. Embrace the color pink in your life. Just love them.

Another thing I would suggest is to “date” your daughters. There is something so special about building that bond with your child and creating memories together.
(*Every year my dad takes each of his daughters out on a birthday date. We’ve been “dating” for nearly 30 years now, and none of us have never missed a birthday date in all that time–even when living in different states and countries! Now as an adult, our daddy-daughter dates are some of my favorite childhood memories–and something that I still look forward to every year.).

WLTG: Speaking of memories, what are some suggestions you have for building memories and traditions with your family?

Dad: Blow some dough! I made a decision before I even became a father that I would make sacrifices in order to make memories. For our family, that meant spending some money doing some outrageously fun things together. We spent our winters skiing together. We took road trips to National Parks. We traveled to Europe and ate gelato until our tummies hurt. It cost a lot in terms of time and money, but I’ve never regretted a penny or a moment we spent together.

WLTG: Any last words?

Dad: Be there…like, physically be there. If your kid has a recital or a sporting event or a teacher conference, make room in your schedule and be there. Years down the road your kid may not remember how well they danced at that recital or the score of that track meet, but they’ll remember who was in the stands watching them. Be there.

Also, model for your children what a good parent should look like. I am the father I am today because my parents showed me how to be a parent. They supported me, they respected me, they loved me. Parents need to be the kinds of parents that they hope their kids will grow up to be some day.

And, remember: just love your kids.

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An Exclusive Interview With Mimi The Monkey

My son has a best friend. David spends about 90% of his waking hours (and 100% of his sleeping hours) snuggled up with his special friend. She’s small in stature, has short brown hair, and dark eyes. And, oh yes, she is a monkey. Meet Mimi:

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Mimi was a gift to David when he was a baby, and she truly is his first love. David has such a strong rapport with Mimi that he knows her entire history. You can ask him any question about Mimi and he has a ready answer. This game of “know thy monkey” amuses me to no end. And now, for the first time ever, David has agreed to an exclusive on-the-record interview with Mimi. Since Mimi is a bit shy, David decided to act as her interpreter during our exchange. Here is a glimpse into our conversation:

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Hi, David! Who is that you’re holding?
Mimi.

Who is Mimi?
A monkey. She’s my friend, but she’s a monkey.

Is Mimi a boy or a girl?
A girl.

What is Mimi’s mom’s name?
Allison.

What is Mimi’s dad’s name?
Jonathan.

How old is Mimi?
I don’t know…17. I’m 3.

Is Mimi older or younger than you?
Younger than me.

But 17 is a bigger number than 3.
Can we watch Toy Story?

What is Mimi’s favorite toy?
She likes yo-yo’s. She just loves yo-yos.

What does she do with yo-yos?
Umm….ummm..puts them in a video.

What kind of video?
Tangled.

Does Mimi like to watch videos?
Yes, Tangled is her favorite.

Why?
Because it’s good for her to watch. Because it’s kinda nice. There’s a golden flower.

That is nice. What else does Mimi like?
Uh…balls. She likes ball games. She likes football games!

Does Mimi play football?
She plays it when she’s a real monkey. And shoots the ball right into my hoop! She will bring the football right outside to my hoop and she does pretend bites. We only do pretend bites. Pretend bites don’t hurt.

That’s good. We don’t want to hurt anybody. Does Mimi ever get in trouble?
Blank stare

Alright, moving on. Does Mimi like to eat?
When she’s a pretend monkey, leaves are good for her to eat. She will cross the river and I think they are in the grass. The leaves are in the grass. She likes to eat the leaves from our park across the street.

Does Mimi ever go the park without you?
Yes, she does! She runs away to Blackberry Trail (the trail that runs behind our house). But there are no blackberries now. We need to get more blackberries and eat them. I think we should use a spoon and fork to eat blackberries.

Have you taught Mimi how to use a spoon and a fork?
Uh-huh.

Have you taught her how to do anything else?
Nope. That’s it. She doesn’t know how to do anything else. She’s not going to do anything else. Ever.  Should we watch Toy Story now?

Is Mimi tired of me asking questions?
Yes, Mom. I think you want to stop.

Yes, I think you’re right. You’re very insightful like that. I think I do want to stop. Thank you for your time, Mimi and David.
You’re welcome, Mommy Pig (that’s another story for another day).

Oh, Mimi. Thank you for loving my son unconditionally. What would we ever do without you?

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