I titled my post Father’s Day, instead of Happy Father’s Day, out of respect for all of us who don’t have a great dad, or our dad is gone, or we'd just rather forget the day all together. I know how (some) of you feel. My dad has been gone truly over half a lifetime now, and this holiday is still difficult.
My Dad was a great dad. I mean that sincerely, not in the don’t-disrespect-the-dead-so-say-only-nice-things insincere way. A little proof that I know my dad was a great dad is that my sister and I married really good guys. Hard working, kind, loves kids. When you have a good dad, you marry a guy whose good like him. I look at women I know, and the ones with good dads all married great guys. Now, some who had big losers for fathers married some good guys too, bjut not all of them. I would say that it’s under 50%.
The funny thing is that my sister and I each almost married the wrong kind of guy. Like we got really, really close to marrying some major big losers. Luckily for both Stephanie and myself, when you had a dad like ours, once you realize that the one in front of you just doesn’t measure up, you drop them like a hot potato, count your losses as blessings and move forward.
Days like this can really suck. For me, it’s bittersweet because looking at my own husband with our kids, I know what I lost. But still, the celebration is there because I get to see how much our kids absolutely worship the Mister.
My brother and sister aren’t that lucky. For them, the hole is gaping, and little exists to divert them from that fact on this day. My mother looks at her children and grieves the loss of my dad all over again.
I look at photos of our waiting boys and wonder how they’ll feel about Father’s Day in the years ahead. I look at Hattie and wonder how she’ll feel about her birthdad. He’s a piece of work. The Mister and I do a very good job of just being happy and matter-of-fact about everything; Daddy Joe lives in Washington, your real Dad lives here (the Mister adopted her years ago). Daddy Joe never has visited (fine by me), rarely replies to her emails (she’s long stopped asking to email him) and sent her a birthday card this week with the line, “I hope you are going to do lots of fun things this summer. I know I am.”
Puh-leeze. Now, the Mister and I totally realize that he is writing that solely for our benefit. A sort of yeah-I-once-was-a-huge-loser-but-I-got-my-shit-together-and-look-at-me-now sort of transparent b.s. Honestly, what kind of dad would write something like that to their own kid? I realize many have written way worse. But my God, why would someone say, “gee, hope your life, that I’m not, in is as good as mine, cuz mine rocks!” What a jackass.
We smile and say to Hattie, “Wow, what a cool card! How nice he wrote you a little letter and sent such thoughtful gifts.” We would NEVER EVER say a discouraging word about him to her (she doesn’t read the blog, and I would never include this post in a blog book), but it makes me wonder at what age she’ll look at us and say, “Are you kidding me?” At what age her angst will begin?
I’m betting that at some point in the next, oh, say 5 years, some legislator somewhere will draft a bill to abandon the Father’s Day holiday. Or maybe suggest splitting it into two days, one for those who have awesome dads who are worth celebrating, and a day for those to vent and rage over their crappy genepool. I’m not saying that I think this should be done, but I’m betting there’s more than one person out there who feels that way.
I look at my beautiful son sitting next to me, and the photos of the two gorgeous sons I long to hold, and I commit myself to doing everything I possibly can to raise them to be excellent husbands and fathers. Our society certainly doesn’t make it easy. I’m very fortunate in that I have a great husband whose an excellent dad to help with this huge task. So thank you Mister, and I wish you a very happy Father’s Day.