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Today I'd love to give a gift to my kids for expanding my world
My kids do a great job of making me one proud dad on Father's Day

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Date published: 6/20/2004

TODAY IS ONE of those days some people call a "Hallmark holiday"--Father's Day, Mother's Day, Secretaries' Day--all created so people have to buy greeting cards or neckties or flowers or whatever as a way of saying thanks to the people who are so important to us that we shouldn't need a special day to say it.

Of course, I would appreciate a rock if it was a gift from my kids. In fact, I have gotten a rock--I mean paperweight--at least once.

But suppose we turn the tables on Father's Day. Having been a father for more than nine years, I think Father's Day should be a special opportunity for fathers to express their appreciation to those who make them fathers: their kids.

So let's cut to the chase here. I know other fathers may take issue, but I'm afraid I have to lay claim to having the best kids. That's my opinion, and since I write an opinion column, I get to say that. I also did some research. I checked with my wife, and she agrees, so it must be true.

Anyway, that hardly means that we have the only great kids, or that my kids don't frustrate me or make me angry once in a while. For example, why must cooperation turn to intransigence when we need to be somewhere and we're already late? And can anybody tell me when they'll grow out of KST (Kid Standard Time) and figure out that five minutes is not the same as an hour?

I know that the years during which they will actually drive me crazy are yet to come. Fathers just need to remind themselves, over and over, that fatherhood is a learning experience from Day One on, for all parties concerned.

But back to my kids. Michael is 9, and Megan is 7. They had wonderful child-care providers in their early years who deserve credit for helping to make them happy and well-adjusted kids.

M&M, my shorthand for them, just wrapped up third and first grade, respectively, at Courtland Elementary in Spotsylvania. I always get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I go there, and think that if I were a kid, it would be a great place to go to every day.

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