Wow! Will this really be my 19th Father’s Day as a father?
My biggest regret is that I’ve had to learn so much the hard way. To make life easier for other fathers and prospective fathers, I’m sharing reader-submitted pearls of wisdom:
Resign yourself to the fact that the mother of your progeny will probably never admit that you deserved an epidural for the paper cut you suffered from the Lamaze brochure.
Remember that whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you available to encounter the next contender for Dirty Diaper from Hell.
The heck with stepping on Legos in the dark. Tell the kids you overheard their imaginary friend saying he/she prefers to play with imaginary toys.
Learn to deflect confrontations. (“Are you sure Justin said, ‘My dad can whip your dad’? Your mother says you never clean your ears, so isn’t it possible Justin instead declared, ‘My uncle can whip your uncle’?”)
Reward entrepreneurship. Fork over some cash for the mud pies. But don’t fall for the extended warranty.
Ward off the annoying “Are we there yet?” whine by waxing endlessly philosophical during car trips. (“Is anyone ever really there yet? And if they do arrive, and they celebrate their arrival by clapping with one hand, what is the sound of...?”)
Don’t skimp on corny dad jokes. Revenge is a dish best served while attending a doll tea party.
Understand that the American Medical Association has determined that the act of circling a “date night” on the calendar is the leading cause of tonsillitis, appendicitis, bubonic plague, unionization of babysitters, etc.
Beware the Three G’s when lecturing. Don’t try the old “When I was your age” gambit when the unholy alliance of Google, Grandma, and Grandpa is there to fact-check you. (“Yes, your dad dutifully mowed the lawn for hours and hours – if, by ‘hours and hours’ you mean ‘until he remembered where he hid his porn stash.’”)
Be a big shot by helping your offspring with their homework. (“The only thing faster than the speed of light is the speed at which families pass through the ‘Kids Eat Free’ sweet spot.”)
Do not cause a scene over disagreements with coaches and umpires. You may, however, play it by ear if someone uses a hideous color for the “participation” ribbons.
Plan ahead. Manufacture a five-year supply of slightly altered videos of Spot frolicking at a farm upstate, in case you ever hear a disturbing noise while backing out of the driveway.
The earlier your child performs in a piano recital or dance recital, the more forgivable it is to test the fire alarm. (Editor’s note: “Parents, don’t try this at the auditorium!”)
When those teenage attitudes bubble up, keep telling yourself, “This is just a phase, this is just a phase...” -- pausing only long enough to tell the nice clerk, “Yes, I know I’m past due to sign up for Medicare, but...”
Let your daughter’s suitor know that you remember what it’s like to be a 16-year-old boy. And what it’s like to be an expert on unsolved disappearances.
Beam with pride when your child decides to attend your alma mater. Beam a little less when they ask, “Which dorm has monsters under the bed?”
Retreat to the early “Goodnight Moon” days of fatherhood if your descendants wind up moving back home.
“Goodnight, man cave. Goodnight, speedboat. Goodnight, date night...”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”