There’s a strange story that I like to tell on Father’s Day.
When I was in 7th grade, I was duck hunting early in the morning with my dad and I shot my first duck. Our dog retrieved the bird and brought it back to the blind. I had wounded the bird but it was still alive, gasping for breath. I was uncertain what to do but certain I didn’t want to touch that duck. My dad stood up and quickly stepped on the bird’s neck, killing it and putting it out of it’s misery. It was a messy thing that fell on him to do to fix the situation.
Fast forward to a couple years ago. I now have my own wife and children.
We returned home one night to find blood and feathers all over our back porch. Our cat had mortally wounded a bird and was still toying with it. My wife was horrified and uncertain what to do but certain she wanted to head inside with the kids. I agreed and, of course, obliged to take care of the porch. I kicked my cat away (Hard. You would have too). I quickly stepped on the bird’s neck, killing it, putting it out of it’s misery. I said a prayer and threw it into the river by our home. I swept and cleaned the porch.
It felt like a rite of passage, honestly. It was this messy thing that fell on me to do to fix the situation. I was glad to do it so my wife and kids didn’t have to.
And it made me feel like my dad.
I felt strong. I felt responsible. And I felt like I had entered a greater sense of fatherhood.