The calendar reminds us that today is Father's Day. Allow me to apologize in advance for what I'm about to say."He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
Sunday, June 19, 2011
On why Fathers Day sucks for some
Today isn't about store-bought presents or kitschy ties. It isn't about forced sentiment or cramming good wishes into a 24-hour period to the detriment of the 364 other 24-hour periods that make up the current year.
If you've read me for long enough, you may recall that holidays like Fathers Day don't really do it for me. Sure, I loved the way our youngest son threw his arms around me when I came downstairs this morning to give the puppy his shot. Any hug is always a good hug. I'm thankful for the day ahead, which we'll spend together doing the quiet, weekend-ish things that families do. Days like today remind me how lucky I am to have what I have.
I also appreciate the additional opportunity to stop and think about my own late dad, and the things he taught me that show up in my own style of parenting. I stop and think about him every day, of course, but it doesn't hurt to have a day like this, too, to reinforce the notion for those who may need a bit of a push.
Still, I'd like to think that we don't need piles of flyers on our doorsteps and endless reminders on-air and online to remind us of the need to appreciate one another. And that we don't have to build it up, save it up all for one day, only to let it lapse as soon as midnight takes us into the next non-celebratory day.
Somewhat unfairly, because that's just the way life works, not everyone has a dad. And if you don't, how does it feel to watch everyone else bask in the glory of it all while you bask without him? Sure, you've probably gotten used to the myriad realities of loss by now, but do you really need to endure the kind of day, each and every year, where it's thrown at you from all sides?
I realize that sounds harsh, and I don't mean to be. But forced commercialism always seems to betray harsh dichotomies and moments, stark differences that wouldn't be quite so stark if we were simply more caring to everyone on every other day of the year, if we relied our ourselves instead of a flyer to keep the goodness flowing, in a balanced way, all year long. How hard is it, after all, to kiss the top of your daughter's head and tell her you're proud of her, on an average day and for no real reason?
It shouldn't be. And we shouldn't need special days.
I love my kids immeasurably and I know they love me, too. My wife is their hero, too, and their grandparents, as is every other friend and family member who's touched their lives in some way. This is all just as true today as it was yesterday, and as it will be tomorrow, the day after, and always. Why we have to stick it in a box defined by gifts and gotta-make-'em-or-else phone calls is beyond me.
Tomorrow is always another day. And I'll still be a dad, then. And my wife will still be a mom. There should be no such thing as a non-celebratory day, and we should all be invited to the party whenever it ends up happening.
Your turn: Thoughts?