We have two sons and twin daughters. In our family, the Father’s Day is usually quite eventful, and I pride myself on being important to them.
Recently, I realized how many songs there are recognizing the unique bond between the parents and their children. The sacred bond. I have known some of them for years, but every so often, I find a new one.
It all started with Cat’s in the cradle. Harry Chapin wrote that song just when I came to this country. The longer I lived, the more I understood the depth of the story.
For years, I worked in the hospital for some 100 hours a week. When our first son was born, and later when the second arrived, I grasped how quickly our own children could be sacrificed to the Moloch of healthcare. The feeling amplified when the twins joined our family.
As doctors, we were good. The patients loved us, and the staff catered to our requests. But when we came home––our wives, and the kids, didn’t see a god. They often saw a person only partially involved in raising them, often tired, often staying in the OR too long, often putting hospital duties before family obligations. We were fathers by hear-say. Do you remember the scene from The Doctor, when William Hunt comes home in the middle of the day? He just got a terrible diagnosis, and, after cancelling his case, shows up in his home. “Come say hello to your dad, Nicky,” the wife tells her son. The boy runs to the phone, expecting his dad on the other end. Never would he expect dad to be home that early.
So, an easy and rewarding time spent in the hospital kept expanding, at the cost of the more difficult moments at home. I remember the feelings of exhilaration when we saved a patient’s life. We felt we could walk on water. But at home, kids rarely listened to us. And we didn’t even think of the long-term consequences.
Cat’s in the cradle showed me the danger. I understood I am a surgeon for a few years. But I will be a father for the rest of my life.
So, Harry Chapin’s song is first on a list of my favorite songs for Father’s Day.
However before songs for the sons, I have a present for my twin daughters. For them, I chose another song, I Hope You Dance. I loved it so much, I’ve included it in my father’s speech at the wedding.
Happy Father’s Day to all.