I was riding from Minnesota to Chicago today, headed home with Maria (my wife!) for the first time since our wedding Saturday. She slept the first two hours while her father drove–he was taking us back out to the city with our gifts and luggage in tow.
We left early (obscenely so) and by 7:00 am, he needed a quick bathroom break. Maria took the wheel and her dad stretched out on the bench seat behind us as we headed back out 0n the road.
It wasn’t five minutes before he started snoring, softly but steadily, and I had a thought that stuck with me all day: Thank goodness for fathers who snore.
Fathers are intimidating, or at least they are sometimes, and little kids sometimes so need to be able to laugh at their dads as they snort in their sleep. It makes our dads more accessible, more relatable somehow, and it allows us to build the kind of jovial relationship that I treasure with my own dad.
I think a lot of this thought process came from thinking about my dad, whose speech and song at the wedding reception made me so nostalgic and so appreciative of all he has done for me and how much he cares.
And there’s another thing: Snoring reminds us how hard our dads work for us. They snore because they are dog-tired by the end of most days. They work long hours or commute across states to provide for us, but they also work hard to make us feel comfortable and to keep us happy. Dads get up before us every morning and go to bed after us every night. Their snores are reminders of that.
In one more way, snores are valuable to us in appreciating all our dads do. It may not be so with all dads, but mine has mild sleep apnea. That means that his snores are usually long, sucking inhalations followed by painful, breathless silences before he finally lets out the air and breathes again. That might sound terrifying; it is. I remember being up half the night once when I was 12 and it was just the two of us in a hotel room, because I could not fall asleep during those moments between inhale and exhale.
Still, those kinds of times remind us about something important: Our dads aren’t here forever. My dad said something I really loved during his toast at our wedding: “Never miss the last time something happens.”
It isn’t that I actually think my father is going to die every time I hear him snore: If that were the case, it would not be a positive experience. Still, I DO think about what it would be like not to have had such a great father, and about the fact that he will not always be there for me. That always gets me. I always feel an extra surge of attachment to my dad at those moments. So thank goodness for fathers who snore.