Happy Father's Day to my dad, all my friends who are dads, and, I suppose, to me.
The whole Mother's Day vs. Father's Day thing has always seemed a little unbalanced to me. I don't remember our family doing much or saying much about Father's Day when I was a kid, particularly in comparison to Mother's Day.
Perhaps it's not a big surprise because, at least in terms of recognition of the holidays by the federal government, Mother's Day has been around since 1914 while a presidential proclamation of Father's Day waited until Richard Nixon in 1972.
So, when I was a young kid, Father's Day didn't officially exist. When I was an older kid, it perhaps still didn't seem like a "real" holiday and anyway my dad didn't seem the type to care a lot about a day dedicated to appreciating him.
I sort of feel the same way, maybe because I grew up without Father's Day seeming like a big deal and maybe because I feel like the stuff I do for the family is what I'm supposed to do. It's like celebrating a soldier for his day-to-day tasks while serving in the Army. But we tend to celebrate soldiers after their military service, whether they left it living or not, rather than just for doing their jobs. And in the short years that I've been a father, I've felt much the same way.
Mother's Day, on the other hand, was always a big deal when I was growing up, at least in comparison to many other holidays, and remains so in my house today. My wife anticipates it, I prepare for it and try to get my kids to play along -- not easy with toddlers but fun to try.
I have always told my wife (since we've had kids, thus making me eligible for celebration) that I don't want to make too much of Father's Day, that I don't really think what I'm doing is all that special or worthy of taking an otherwise beautiful Sunday and complicating it with unneeded festivities.
But as I think about it more, as I progress through fatherhood, I'm objecting to Father's Day less. Sure, there's lots of inherent joy and happiness in being a dad. But there's also lots of effort, lots and lots of cost, hundreds of hours of driving and diaper changing and other things taking me away from things I'd rather be doing. So, maybe, if it's OK to celebrate Mom's contribution to the family and to raising the kids and to the sacrifices she makes, just maybe it's OK to celebrate us dads, too. Maybe it's OK for us to have a day of being pampered and appreciated just for being us.
So it's in that spirit that I promise to enjoy this Father's Day. We're going to go down to a friend's place where a big group of our small circle of friends will get together on this perfect Colorado almost-summer day for food and drink and to let our kids play in the small lake in their neighborhood. With luck, I won't have to spend the whole day watching the kids -- but knowing me I'll probably do just that out of habit.
Anyway, I hope those of you who read this who are dads will find a way, like me, to realize that perhaps we are worthy of a little celebration even though we would do what we do, like a soldier, without it.
And now, I have to go mow the lawn.
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