What I want for Father's Day

By JASON PATTERSON,

My little girl has asked me several times over the last few days what I want for Father’s Day on Sunday.

My response has always been, “I just want to do something fun with y’all.”

I’m sure they’ll get me a gift anyway, but I’m sincere when I tell them that what I really want is a little time to enjoy ourselves together.

That’s nothing really unusual for us. Most weekend afternoons are spent on some kind of adventure whether we’re catching fish, exploring creeks for petrified wood and other treasures or whatever else we can think of.

During the summertime that can be anything from creating a homemade water slide on a hill to filling up a mudhole for big splashes when they speed through them on the Big Wheels.

Our kids sometimes feel like they’re famous because so many people comment on photos I’ve shared of them catching big fish or competing in sports.

I’m often told that I’m a good father for taking the time to do those things, but the truth is that I’m getting as much out of all these things as my children are – maybe more. Spending time having fun with little kids may be one of the healthiest things that an adult can do.

One of the unfortunate things about adulthood is how easy it is to get so caught up in the worries that come along with all of your responsibilities. If you’re not careful you can forget how fun life can be – how much fun life should be.

I almost let it happen to me, and maybe I would have if I didn’t have three little ones who are always counting on me to lead them to their next adventures.

They constantly remind me that life is worth celebrating. I’m grateful for that. I never want to become one of those people who are always griping about the most insignifcant things and seem to be mad all the time.

Sure, it’s exhausting at times trying to keep up with three children, but there are few things more rewarding to me than falling into bed at the end of the day after we’ve packed in as much fun as possible. It’s so much easier to smile through life’s setbacks and disappointments when you know that more good times are just ahead.

Our secret has been to find great pleasure in simple things. We’ve had as much fun splashing in the creek on our family land as we’ve had on beach vacations. We’ve had as much fun camping a few miles from home as we’ve had on trips to the mountains.

That has been true for me because I’ve been able to see these things through the eyes of my children. But I’ve probably had some influence on how they look at these things as well, and for me that’s one of the many great rewards of fatherhood.

I know these times won’t last forever. I’m amazed at how fast our children are growing, and even though it doesn’t seem like it, I’m getting older at the same pace.

My own father has been gone for 14 years now. Sometimes it seems like he was here just yesterday, and sometimes it seems like an eternity. So much has changed in my life since he was with us, and yet the memories of all the fun times we had together are still so clear.

One day my children will only have memories of our time together.

I’m going to make sure they have plenty of them.