Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Happy" Father's Day

For me, it’s a reminder that I'm a parent raising children without my wife.

 For others, it’s a symbol that their children’s father is gone.

 For those without kids, it’s a reflection on what isn’t or what will now never be.

 For all of us, it’s a trigger that reminds us of our situation, another day that is awkward as it puts us out of place for a 24 hour period, another day where we don’t want to face questions from our kids or conversations with our relatives and friends, another day where people will tell me all day long to have a “Happy Father’s Day”.  A wish where I would love to respond, “It’s really not that happy for me as it’s not the same since my wife died.”  But knowing that response would draw a, “Look, dude, I’m just reading off the cue cards here.  The calendar is telling me today is a happy day for the fathers.  I really don’t have any interest in your true happiness, so just say ‘Thanks’, collect your change and leave my store.”

 The past few years I’ve been able to let the day fly under the radar without acknowledging too much my “special” day.  But now my kids are getting older and they too are able to read calendars and the calendar today is telling them today is my day to be happy – whether I want to be or not.

Mother’s Day is easier for me.  I can be sad and reflective as I release balloons into the air with my children, remembering my wife and their mother.  I can talk fondly of her throughout the day and tell the kids with a tear in my eye that she was a good mom and we will do our best to follow her love.

But today is about me.  Crap, I’m still alive which means the spotlight stays on me and my girls will be looking for me to show them how great of a day this is.  Switching that around and showing them this day sucks would only confuse them.  This year they have picked up on the Hallmark Holiday and my eldest has told me something is planned today.

 Okay.  Maybe I’m not ready to be happy today, but I am grateful.  I have beautiful daughters who are excited for me and want something good for me.  In their world, it’s as simple as, “Today is your day dad, so you must have been waiting for this for awhile.”

I think I will take this day and use it as an opportunity to let my children know how proud I am to be their father.  I’m going to go out and buy them each a Father’s Day card and hand it to them as they look at me like I read the calendar wrong.  But on the inside I will write a short note telling them that as a father, I couldn’t ask for better children, and how proud I am on this day with how they have dealt with the loss of their mom.  A day to check in to see how they are coping and give some positive reinforcements – have I done that lately?

 Happy Father’s Day?  Don’t think I’m there yet.  Proud Father’s Day?  I’m all in.


  1. Lovely post. Thank you.

  2. I think what you are doing for your daughter's is wonderful! I lost my mother young and wrote a journal of thoughts for my daughter's to read when they are older, because I did not want them to experience what I did or at least have something to remind them how much I loved them if something had happened to me. Unfortunately it was there dad who died and despite my request for him to write a letter his daughters could read. It would have been nice to have it for them to read today.

  3. As the mom of 2 grown kids, Father's Day bothers me a lot. Everybody worries about me on Mothers Day, which I don't get. Mothers Day is okay because my kids' mother is still here. My kids' father is not, so Father's Day is rougher for me. Yeah, my husband would have bought me 2 cards for Mother's Day (one silly and one serious). And I miss that. What I miss more, though, is my children having their father for Fathers Day and every other day. I would gladly give up all my future Mothers Day cards if my kids could have their dad back for Fathers Day.

  4. I love the idea of giving them a father's day card, I might steal that next mother's day. Today we invited a family who recently lost their grandfather, I think it helped that we were reaching out to a family the way others reached out to us in the beginning. Burgers, dogs and water guns were an awesome distraction for everyone involved.