You’ve undoubtedly seen the American Express Commercials that used the tag line, “Membership has its’ privileges.” If not, it was a successful ad campaign in the 1990’s that American Express employed to make charging purchases on the American Express card glamorous and “privileged.” Of course, we know that it isn’t true. All you usually remember is the aftermath of buying something you didn’t need with money you don’t have. Definitely not a privilege.
I was reminded of that ad campaign today when I got a surprise email from my daughter, Erin. We’ve been communicating a lot lately. I always love chatting with her. Our communication efforts are very sporadic. Sometimes I’ll initiate a call or text. Recently, she’s been the one more diligent about contacting me. She’s been texting, emailing, calling and even “hanging” out with me on Google Hangout. All of our recent communication has been around her buying a new, previously owned car. I’ve walked her through the decision making process of whether she should be spending a lot of money on a newer car, pour more money into a dependable but much older car that is starting to need more work and all of the issues everyone who’s ever driven old cars must address at one time or another. I’m still not sure there are easy answers to that. But, we’ve spent a lot of time walking through the decision and, now, the actual purchase, financing and related issues of getting a new vehicle. My little girl is growing up! What does this have to do with the email I received, you ask?
If, as the old ad says, membership has its’ privileges, then there are times when fatherhood has its’ privileges too. And, this is the real kind of privilege. The kind that gives more joy after received, not like the purchase of another item I don’t really need while racking up credit card debt I definitely don’t need. No, this is a special kind of privilege that every dad who’s ever received it will immediately feel deep down in his soul. When I saw this come through my email I knew that I’d soon be shedding manly fatherhood tears 😉
The beauty of this is that it’s not near Father’s Day, my birthday or any other “special” day. It was just something she did out of the blue and it brought me great joy. She gave me permission to share it on my blog. I don’t share it as a testimony to my “greatness” as a father. I’ve failed so many times I can’t even begin to list them all. I thought I would share it as an example of the privilege it is to be a dad. If you’re a dad, it’s a reminder that those days when you wonder, “is it all worth it?” in the middle of toting them here and there, cleaning up after them, disciplining them, and all the other things you do as a father that sometimes feels like it’s all done in vain, it is [worth it]. This is an example of the rewards of sticking to it, even during those tough days. As I’ve said many times, being a father is hard but the rewards are immeasurable. Thank you, Erin, for giving me one of those memorable moments today.
Here’s her letter to me:
A Tribute to My Dad
Over the past couple of weeks (or the past year and half if we’re getting technical) it has become even clearer that I have been blessed with a wonderful dad. I’ve also realized how much I miss him. Not because I don’t talk to him, I now call him on a daily basis to discuss mini-crises that I’m having. But, as much as new technology advances, face-timing, google hangouts, skype, and whatever other ridiculous means we now use to keep in touch, they don’t come close to living daily life with him. I miss his hugs. I miss just sitting in the office playing a computer game while he does something productive. I miss watching sports with him, and asking him endless questions about players and rules. I miss his grilling. I miss running with him. I miss waking up and walking downstairs to see him and my mom reading their Bible.
The real world has kicked me in the face several times after graduation. The fact that I’m only 23 and have no idea what the heck I’m doing does not seem to keep people from billing me, or my car from breaking down, or leases from being up. And whenever these things happen my dad gets a frantic phone call from his “independent” daughter. My dad knows I talk a big game about being independent and not needing people, but he sees past this façade to the little girl who cried with him the other night because she hated figuring out insurance, or the girl who called without a hint of how to change her first flat tire. While these situations have not been ideal, they’ve made me especially thankful lately.
Thankful that I have a dad who I can call at all hours. Who will let me cry. Who doesn’t tell me to get over it, but sends me a verse to encourage me with truth instead. While I’ve failed at many a thing these months since graduation, I know that I have a dad who loves me. A dad who always has time for me, even when he’s busy with his life. A dad who is consistently encouraging me, even when I’m being irrational and dramatic. A dad who won’t let me fail completely, just mostly. There have been many guys that have made me feel like I’m not worth their time, but my dad is always there to remind me that I’m worth his.
I appreciate you dad, even if, as a selfish 23 year old, I don’t always communicate these sentiments.
Yes, like the old American Express commercials intimated but could never touch what i just experienced, Fatherhood does indeed have its’ privileges.