My calendar, the card aisles and the colorful sales flyers that come with my newspaper tell me that Father’s Day is coming. Quickly.
I’ve been writing family centered, slice of life columns for several years’ worth of Father’s Days—I have a sizable file of them.
Having that file is a necessity because I can make sure I don’t repeat myself (a symptom of experienced age). It’s also a curse because sometimes I was indeed ready to repeat myself which leads to a panicky Now What!? Or, like looking for that ONE picture for Throw Back Thursday leads to hours paging through photo albums, I fall into a rabbit hole of reading.
And sometimes I am paralyzed because what I prattled on about in years past ends up being far more emotional than I was prepared for.
That happened this week.
And I’m paralyzed as to how to proceed.
I’m torn. Really torn. It’s Father’s Day week and I should be celebrating Dads. Dads rock. My kids’ dad rocks and my own dad rocked.
As I read through many years of Father’s Days remembrances my eyes welled up, my stomach got pitty and I wanted to drag anyone within ear or eyeshot into the emotions that I felt.
I wanted you to cry with me.
But that’s not fair. While this is the first father’s day without my own dad alive a lot of dads ARE here and should be celebrated. They should be getting presents AND being recognized as gifts to their children.
But this year I miss my own father so deeply I don’t know how to happily celebrate while sadly mourning.
Terry Pratchett, who died one day after my father, once wrote, “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world are dead.”
I want my dad to keep rippling.
But how? How to keep my dad’s ripples going and celebrate the dads who are still creating their own?
How to remember the man through my still-raw emotions while cheerfully tipping my hat to other men who are hip-deep in diapers or playset building or learner’s permits or wedding planning.
Happy Father’s Day to the…
Dads who didn’t think that they wanted kids until the moment they heard one was coming; who didn’t know what to do with a baby until one grabbed ahold of their finger moments after they had grabbed ahold of their heart.
Dads who somehow managed to change only a few diapers and yet appear in every diaper changing photo.
Real, honest dads who made parenting mistakes and worked hard to correct them.
Dads who did things that made mom cringe in fear but made kids scream in delight.
Dads who taught their kids how to treat others even if that meant physically defending their wives from their own offspring’s insensitive teenage comments and actions.
Dads who shared the things that they loved with their kids and didn’t yell when the kids got it horribly wrong.
Dads who loved their kids even when the kids made decisions that they didn’t agree with.
Dads who hoped and wished that their child wouldn’t hold the puppy and were forced to punish her when she did and hated every second of it so much that the sad look on his face hurt her longer and sharper than the only spanking she ever got.
Dads who taught things that had practical applications as well as deeper, figurative ones. “Two turns and a double half-hitch will hold anything until it can be done correctly” also taught, “Hold on however you can until you can hold on better.”
To dads who do things like my own dad and dads who do things their own way who show love and are loved: Happy Father’s Day.