I never really liked Father’s Day. Partly because I don’t really get the Father’s vs Mother’s Day dynamic. I think that’s crap, really. Mostly, though, because Father’s Day, for me, was something I had to tolerate.
Does that make me an ungrateful jerk? Well, yeah, probably.
Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day
I guess it happened back when there was expected and accepted male and female roles in the family. Shorty after an unnamed greeting card company created these two holidays, an implication of how they were supposed to
go down was created. For Mother’s Day, the dad takes the kids out for a special day with him to give mom some time alone. Then Father’s Day comes along and the dad takes the kids out for a special day with him to give mom some… Of course, traditionally, this sentence is finished with “to spend some time with the kids.” So how did it happen that both Father’s Day AND Mother’s Day are spent the same way? I have a theory about women and devils and – well – it’s probably best to leave it at that.
For me, though, I was constantly taking my daughter out for “special” days. In fact, any time I could nab a couple hours, days, or weeks with her, I’d fight tooth and nail to get it. It wasn’t to be an Amusement Park Dad. It was to be a regular dad.
In fairness, that was my fault – this whole giving my daughter as many experiences as I could thing. But, I did feel like I had to top those on Father’s Day… and subsequently Mother’s Day… making both days a bit of a burden.
The night before Father’s Day, I braced myself. I drank lots of water and didn’t eat too much food. I’d go to bed early because I knew what was coming.
Father’s Day would start with the unbearable.
Oh, I didn’t know if they’d be chocolate chip or blueberry, sure. But pancakes none the less. Breakfast in bed for her favoritest dad in the world!
The problem? I hate pancakes. I simply can’t do that much bready or sweet stuff in the morning. And some years, she’d be sure to serve toast and blueberry jam… or whatever jelly was in the fridge.
So, here’s how much I dislike pancakes: I was pleasantly surprised on the year she forgot it was Father’s Day. Yep! That’s real life.
There was also never a card or gift. This, in and of itself, is fine for me. However, it wasn’t because she recognized me as a minimalist. It was because Father’s Day was never really planned out for her. She’d just wake up in the morning and wing something. That’s one of the downsides of being a single parent; the other parent isn’t there to say “Hey, what’cha thinkin’ for Father’s Day?”
In hindsight, I’m not sure why there was always pancake mix in the house.
The Beauty of the Teen Years
On the afternoon of Father’s Day this year, I sat on the deck laughing with my daughter and it dawned on me that the day couldn’t have been more perfect.
A few weeks before Father’s Day, she asked what classes I taught on that Sunday… and planned to take one of them. She picked me up from my noon class and she drove to get lunch – at our favorite lunch n’ dash place. She even footed the bill, went shy on the tip, and let me throw a couple more bucks on top – you know, cause that’s what dad’s do.
We spent the afternoon chatting on the deck about some goals we both have before she let me drive her convertible to class. Despite that no one else showed, she and I messed around with some arm balances and inversions for a bit.
As parents of kids “with their own life,” we love this uninterupted time.
All worth it!
It’s funny that Father’s Day, “the burden day,” turned into a great memory. All those years of making sure we focus on what interests them, pays off in their interest in what we do – who we are as people… not just parents.
There’s something amazingly rewarding about your child being a complete functional person, making the plan, getting you there, and even providing for the plan to happen! It’s way different than stomaching pancakes in bed.
Sigh… she’s like a real live person.
It’s their turn to make Mother’s and Father’s Day special… and they do a darn good job at it. Enjoy!
Now, you can follow my shenanigans on Twitter.