When does water cease being wet? When does time stand still? When will Tom disavow a Fat Mo’s burger?
As dads of young adults, sons and daughters who have graduated from their teens, we easily acknowledge that parenthood never ends. Perhaps the style of parenting changes, the gap of life experience narrows, and parenthood becomes more of a partnership. But no matter how old your children are, you never stop being a dad.
When your son or daughter is a teenager, that experiential gap is more like a chasm. When they move into their early to mid-20s, there is still a gap but there is some evidence that they have matured thanks to your “wisdom” and “sage advice.”
Forever daddy’s little girl
A father placed a call to his high-school daughter’s boyfriend because, according to his daughter, the boy lost his temper and came within an inch of planting a backhand on her face. Even though they had dated for some time and seemingly enjoyed each other’s company, something snapped and the boy revealed a dark side to his character. For the first time ever, the young girl felt genuinely scared in her boyfriend’s company. That was all dad had to know. On the phone dad promised the young man that he would call the police if he ever went near his daughter again. That was the end of it.
Once a dad, always a dad
Another father answered his phone to his tearful 30-year-old daughter on the other end. She was frightened by her abusive husband and didn’t know what to do to extricate herself from what had disintegrated into a disastrous marriage. That day the angry husband had locked the doors and gone to work. She was calling from someone else’s phone because she could not get in her own house. Dad didn’t hesitate. He drove an hour to where his daughter was and together they “gained entrance” to her house. Dad helped his daughter pack her things, loaded the car and whisked her away. Because of her hasty departure, she left some of her treasured furnishings. At that point, she didn’t care. She left her home, and she left her marriage.
Dad against all odds
There will never come a day when you won’t worry about your kids no matter what their age. You will always want to fix their leaky faucet or patch up a relationship, rescue them from harm. You will forever be tempted to go to any lengths to spare them hurt or anguish. You will run to their aid even when you don’t know what you might find when you get there. You will worry about them, defend them, soothe them, run interference for them. You’ll run through fire and slay dragons—against all odds and contrary to common sense—to keep them safe. You’ll sometimes poke your nose into matters where you have no business because when it comes to family, the role of dad is played for life.