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Family Matters

10 Best Things About Being a Dad

A dad of three girls ranks his favorite things

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Father’s Day is all about us dads—a celebration of the everyday stuff that makes fatherhood great. But it’s also about our kids—the little humans that made us fathers in the first place. While every dad's list will be different, here's my top ten list about what I love most about being a dad.

1. Life as a chaffeur. Over beers with friends, I complain about spending 2 to 3 hours a day behind the wheel of our minivan schlepping our daughters (current ages 8, 5.5, and 1.5) to and from school, camp, lessons, and practice. The truth: I wouldn’t trade that car time for anything in the world. We sing. We joke. We play epic games of “I spy.” Sometimes the big kids might even actually tell me something about their day.

2. The wonder of it all On my oldest daughter’s first visit to the ocean, she was mesmerized by the waves and stood there watching them, shouting, “Again! Again!” for nearly 30 minutes. Seeing the world through their eyes is inspiring—and contagious.

3. G-rated kid cover bands. I hate to admit it, but I get the appeal—it's catchy. (There. I said it.) Driving alone, I might feel a smidge self-conscious blasting it from the speakers. With our girls rocking out in the back seat? I just turn it up and enjoy.

4. Mini moms. All three of my girls REALLY look like their mom. Every time I look at them, I think about this woman who was crazy enough to marry me and how thankful I am to have her. It’s like this unspoken bonus of being a Dad: Every day I’m with the girls, I fall more deeply in love with my wife.

5. Sleepy princesses. The most action-packed days usually end with a child passed out on the couch, in the car, or in the stroller. There’s nothing quite like carrying them, all sleepy and snuggly, up to bed.

6. Naked bottoms. Their little behinds. Need I say more?

7. Trace the face. We’re big into face-tracing in this house. The kiddos go crazy when we run our fingers over the edges of their noses, mouths, ears, and eyes. I'm not sure I know anything sweeter than having their little fingers do the same to me.

8. Short-term memory. Like most parents, fatherhood for me isn’t always unicorns and rainbows; the girls do their fair share of making my blood boil. But no matter how hard I want to hold a grudge, no matter how “angry” I try to seem, they smile up at me and I know the anger won't stick.    

9. ‘Cool but weird.’ A few weeks ago I overheard my 8-year-old describing me to one of her friends. Her assessment: Dad is “cool but weird.” I’ll take it.

10. The giggles. Some of my best dad moments don’t involve me at all; they happen when our girls are coloring with chalk or “gardening” out back—together. They chatter. They giggle. They fight. Then giggle some more. Watching the three of them elicits a squinty smile (and occasionally some waterworks). I don’t need anything else on earth.