I wonder what kind of dad my kids think I am?

But, let’s back up a bit — is there anything that fully prepares one to be a father? And, to be fair, is there anything that fully prepares one to be a mother? Those are tough and deep questions and I can only try to answer the father question — no disrespect meant ladies … but you know, I’m only a man.

After much mulling about the subject, I wonder if becoming a father isn’t something like opening a bottle of wine you’ve never before tasted.

When I heard that I was about to become a father, I just accepted the fact. If only I’d thought about what it meant! A few months later when I looked upon our first bornchild, I was awestruck. Good grief! Now I must began to act like a … father!?!

Then all I had to do was figure out what it meant to act like a father. Does it mean I’ve suddenly grown up? That I have to leave behind all my growing pains and aches? That I have to be stern, tough and firm about all things in life?

What does it mean to be a father?

Naturally, I can only give my personal perspective and here’s what I’ve learned after a few decades of being a father.

First, you are never fully prepared to be a father and you must be quick on your feet as you learn as you go. Secondly, we men don’t do it alone because we’re only one half of an equal equation when it comes to forming a family.

Remember what I just said about becoming a father is like opening a bottle of wine you never before tasted? That’s fatherhood!

Each child provides another chance to taste something new in life. Each child gives us pleasure and sometimes a challenge. Each child let’s us see life differently because each child brings something new into our lives.

Each newly-found bottle of wine brings us a new taste. Every new found bottle of vino has equal chances of bringing us pleasure and/or a challenge in tasting. And every new bottle of wine brings a newness of expression to our drinking experience.

We fathers are like wines because we express ourselves in the same way wines express themselves.

So, fathers, which of these wines reflects you?

Are you a mild mannered merlot? Maybe you are like Washington state’s Perimeter Winery’s Perimeter Merlot because each day you bring some pleasing cherry and vanilla expressions to your family. Along with those cheery aspects, you bring some spicy sweetness to your kids — they might call that being a bit sassy! Bring it on!

Perhaps you are like a prankish Pinot Grigio and you model AVA Pinot Grigio from California’s Grace Vineyards. AVA means life and the wine brings a nice touch of vibrant citrus and pear into your tasting time. To your kids, you literally mean life, and even if you see the grace in life, it’s OK to have some prankish fun with each other.

Do you comfort your family like a comforting Cabernet Sauvignon? If so, Chile’s Casillero del Diablo’s Cabernet Sauvignon is your wine. Do you enjoy your cup of coffee? Well, here’s the perfect wine to not only taste coffee but also some nice black cherry and dark chocolate. It’s comforting and will relax you after an outing with the kids. But don’t get too goody-goody! The kids like to see a little bit of “Diablo” in their dad.

Are you the kind of father who likes to rouse your family? You know what I mean — the kind of dad who says: “Hey kids, let’s go outside and play together for awhile so Mom can rest!” If you like that image, try a rousing Riesling like Washington state’s Pacific Rim Dry Riesling. After a play time with the kids, you’ll appreciate the crispness of this Riesling and you’ll smack your lips to the fresh taste of peaches. Not only will the kids like your rousing play time but Mom might have a treat for you, too!

Some days we just have a bad day and that’s when a bad sassy blended wine should come to mind. We fathers have our challenges and our grumpy days — just ask Mom and the kids! When these days arrive, try Lutsen, MN North Shore Winery’s Boundary Waters — a not to be forgotten blended wine. It’s made primarily with Barbera grapes sourced from California and it will smooth out the grumpiness of your day with its mellow medium-body tastes of cherries yet it gives a bit of grumpiness in its acidic finish. So, if the day is bad, go for a blend!

Well, let’s go back to the opening question about what kind of dad my kids think I am. It’s my hope they see a bit of everyone of the above mentioned fathers in me. If they do, I’ve succeeded — at least a little bit for them!

We fathers, like our wives and mothers, learn to be balanced, fun, stern and comforting to our kids. I hope my kids see me as that kind of person.

Next week, numbers…

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!