Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day. Father Time.

Father's Day is a day that spawns mixed feelings in me. On the one hand, it's an important reminder to slow down and appreciate the things we have, the things that matter, and the people who make our lives rich and fulfilling. Coming from - and maintaining - a strong family is what gives most of us the strength to navigate the world and make our mark. Without that foundation, that one place where you know everyone roots for you and drops everything to be there for you, it's a lot tougher to make your mark. And arguably not as meaningful.

On the other hand, it's a day designed to sell cards and gifts, a commercialized affair little removed from Mother's Day and Valentine's Day, where the act of buying and giving has, for many, replaced the act of simply being together. The buildup to days like this can also cloud the other 364 (0r 365 during this leap year) days of the year, when connecting with each other is just as important as it is today. Every day matters, but we often forget that simple reality as we work up, to and past manufactured holidays like this one.

I'm also sensitive to the fact that not everyone enjoys the same family constructs so perfectly depicted in the ads. Some folks hated their dads. Some never knew them. Some lost them. Or lost them early. Or under additionally tragic circumstances. And days like today may stir up more sadness than anything else, as they shift focus to what was lost, or never was.

My own father is no longer with us, but he's been gone long enough - almost 7 years - that I no longer feel sick in the pit of my stomach in the days leading up to Father's Day. Yes, I miss him, and yes, I wish he could see all that's happened since and all that we are now. But at the same time, the years have allowed me to better appreciate the role he played in helping me get to my current place in the universe. We're all going to die someday, and I accept that he did the best he could to give the most to his next generation. Can't ask for much more - and it isn't as if we even have the right to ask in the first place.

So today we all slept in. And bounced around the house in our jammies when we finally woke up. And played with the dog. Then went out for breakfast. And sat around and enjoyed the simple act of being together. Because in the end all I wanted was time. And togetherness. Which is all I wanted - and got - today. Come to think of it, it was all I wanted yesterday, too, and will hopefully be what I get tomorrow.

Whatever you're celebrating, make it happy. And don't stop celebrating just because of what the calendar may say. Every day is special. Every day is a gift. Indeed, the gift is the day itself, not anything that needs to be bought.

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