Sometimes it can feel like being a dad is just an endless series of errands. It’s the call from the bedroom that they need a glass of water. It’s the call from college for you to come to take them shopping for something they need for their apartment. It’s the running around town getting soccer cleats, or picking up concert tickets, or bringing them the homework they forgot.
This can be a little annoying, of course. Why didn’t you ask me for this last time I was here? Do you really need that? What happened to the last one?
But at the same time, it’s also good to get them things. To be needed. To be of use.
It’s fun to give presents too, but this is something deeper, better. That’s what Hemingway said— when you’re in love, you wish to serve. It’s Tom Hanks too, with that question, “What do you need me to do?”
So don’t get annoyed when you have to go and get them another snack or when you’re re-filling their water that didn’t really need to be filled anyway, when you’re fluffing a pillow or being asked to do a job that an Uber driver or a TaskRabbit could do just as well. This is what being a dad is. This is the job.
You like getting them things. You’re doing what they need. You’re serving.