My dad always tucks in his shirts. No matter the situation. Before bed, my dad tucks in his t-shirt to his boxer shorts.
For about 24 years (ever since I can remember), I’ve been getting made fun of for consistently tucking in my shirt, no matter the situation. Working out at Charlotte Athletic Club? It’s tucked. Casual Mighty Meaty pizza date at Mellow Mushroom? It’s tucked. Barclay Downs neighborhood walk? It’s tucked. I weird people out.
You see, I can handle being made fun of for my constant shirt tucking, but I can’t handle not making my Dad proud.
My son Watt is now 7 months old. Like a obsessive weirdo, I lip kiss him often and smell his head for at least 20 minutes a day. He’s beautiful. My wife says that I annoy him when I nibble his neck, but my rebuttal is simple – he’s never told me to stop.
When you become a father, your life changes. Forever.
When you become a father, you think about your own father. All the time.
This past Sunday I played a few holes of golf with my Dad near Asheville. He asked me about life, why I continued to duck-hook my driver without making an adjustment, my son Watt, and my wife Lindsey. We hardly talked about the Axios Charlotte. Not because it’s not exciting or fascinating or important. We just didn’t.
When I was a child, my Dad ran a company. My two older brothers and I played Little League. Between the three of us, there were ten straight years of Little League games. My Dad coached each one. On the 8th tee of the golf course near Asheville, I asked him, “How did you work and always seem to be there for us? Wasn’t that hard to balance?” Dad responded, “Of course, but you make time for what’s important.”
I run a media startup. It’s hard. If my Dad wasn’t my Dad, it would be different. If I didn’t know my Dad, I would work late @809 each night writing and getting more scoops so that we could grow audience faster. If I didn’t know my Dad, I would wake up each morning at 5am and head into the office so that I could market harder on social media and grow our newsletter list. If I didn’t know my Dad I would spend each of my evenings at networking happy hours with newsmakers so that I could build stronger relationships in the community.
But I do know my Dad. So…
I hold Watt and kiss him when he wakes up at 6:45am. I stop working so that I can get home by 6pm. I hold Watt and we walk around the block before bath time at 6:50pm.
I can handle getting made fun of for my t-shirt tucking. I can handle being poor. I can handle public failure.
But I can’t handle not being like my Dad.
When my Dad was about 55 (about 8 years ago), we were sitting in our above ground hot tub down in Vero Beach, FL. Yes, we had a hot tub in Florida. Yes, my Mom thought we were idiots for having it. Maybe I drank too many Bud Lights in the hot tub, but I decided to ask my Dad a really deep question, “What are you most proud of in your life?” My Dad is an accomplished guy, both in the community and in business.
He didn’t hesitate.
“My three sons.”
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you. I can’t describe how much joy it gives me to see Watt eat your face.