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Now that it’s hot out, at least once a week, my husband surprises our daughters with a trip to a local ice cream shop. This is when he says he feels he’s at “peak dad” — when he gets to spring something exciting on the kids that he knows will delight them. “I love to see that look of joy wash over their faces,” he said, a little treat they get to share together.

In honour of Father’s Day tomorrow, we asked readers what makes them feel as though they’re fully at home in their roles as dads — however they define them. Here are six sweet, funny and true responses from fathers across the country.

— Jessica Grose, columnist, NYT Parenting

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Lorenzo Gritti

“I do bedtime most nights, so I get to help my 6-year-old work through his fears before going to sleep. I feel most like a dad when we’re talking about everything from the dark to Covid-19 to the Yellowstone supervolcano. Listening to his concerns and sharing my own concerns helps us both to manage our fears and our stresses.”

— Kevin Philpy, Apple Valley, Minn.

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“I feel most like a dad when I am out biking with my son. He’s right in front of me in his bike seat with his dinosaur helmet. He holds ‘Maxie’s handlebars,’ I hold ‘Dada’s handlebars,’ and we explore the world and conquer playgrounds together.”

— Elie Zenner, Chicago


“Achy from my second Covid shot, I was sprawled on the floor of my 10-month-old’s bedroom as she slapped my back with both hands like she was beating the dirt from an old rug. Peak dad.”

— Edward Kirkpatrick, Los Angeles


“My brain is keenly aware that I’m a dad every day, whether it’s watching tidal waves of soapy bathwater breach the sides of the tub, building a new backyard swing or having a Cheerio-stacking contest with our 5-year-old daughter. Feeling like a father is when I’m overcome with emotion watching her sleep after storytime.

I’m reminded, by the comfort and feeling deep in my blood, that she is my world.”

— Weston Miller, Springfield, Ore.

“In retrospect, my peak dad moment was the first time I was able to undo the latch hooks on each of my kids’ car seats, move them to new cars, and re-latch in one swift, multi-second motion. Never did I feel as capable as a dad!”

— Matthew McGarity, McKinney, Texas

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“I felt like a real dad when I earned my daughter’s trust enough to remove the splinters she would pick up playing outdoors. I vividly remember my dad getting out the tweezers and doing this for me growing up, and it felt very full circle when I was able to use the same techniques to help my daughter.”

— Greg Miller, Seattle

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19 June 2021, Parenting, The Newyork Times

NorthPsych psychologist 

The Newyork Times