Labors of Love

There are plenty of things dads do for their kids that are labors of love, things that we do for our kids that maybe they don’t really think about or don’t fully appreciate. These are things that we dads (and moms) do because we love our kids and while we don’t expect them to recognize the efforts we make now, we hope that one day in the future they’ll look at it and realize all the effort we put into something on their behalf.

These labors of love can take many, many forms and will be different from one family to the next. There also may be many labors of love that you make for your kids.

I can’t tell you the number of times I drove around for hours in the middle of the night when my oldest would have an attack of croup (hint: it was a lot). He was too young at the time to remember driving from one suburb to the next with the windows cracked, cold air streaming in until his coughing subsided and he fell asleep, then driving around for another half hour to an hour after he fell asleep to make sure he stayed asleep when we got home, and then still having to get up for work on time the next morning. (Apologies for the run on sentence.)

Or there’s all the hours upon hours I’ve spent reading the Harry Potter books before bed, thousands of pages in 15- to 30-minute increments, doing voices for the different characters, page after page even when I’m tired and practically falling asleep with the book in my lap.

Some labors of love are more tangible. My son has been involved in the Cub Scouts for the last 4 years and every time he goes to an activity or completes an objective he earns some kind of patch. Each of those patches goes on to a “brag vest” that the Scouts wear to show off their accomplishments. These little patches, many of them about the size of a postage stamp, need to be sewn or glued onto the vest. I sew the patches, something I take as a point of personal pride. — Some people use a product called Badge Magic to put the patches on, and I don’t blame them because sewing these things is a pain in the ass. (Also, the sewing is super time consuming and I tend to fall behind when he starts earning a bunch of patches.)

Tales from the Dad Side - Labors of Love brag vest

As of this photo, I have sewn 103 patches onto that stupid vest, and I still have a dozen or more from last year that need to be added. (This is also not counting the patches I sewed onto his uniform shirt, nor is it counting the patches I’ve sewn on my daughter’s Girl Scout stuff.) This is something that I hope, one day, my son will look at and recognized the amount of work that went into it. Maybe it will make him smile, or maybe it will encourage him to do something similar for his own kids (if he ends up having them).

What labors of love do you do for your kids? What do you do for them, late at night when they’re asleep and you finally have time to sew that patch, put together that toy, finish a scrapbook of memories? What do you hope that one day they’ll look back and appreciate the labors of love that you’ve undertaken?

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