Our Story Begins:
The Single Dad’s Father’s Day
Father’s Day isn’t just a day you get your Dad a tie or socks or make him a breakfast in bed that he somehow swallows down even though nobody in their right mind mixes maple syrup and hash browns.
Father’s Day, for the last three years, has been a bittersweet day in my household. As a Dad, one of the great pleasures is the ability to see the joy in your children’s Mom’s eyes when the day rolls around. There was always a bit of pleasure when I would roll over on the bed to find the other side of the mattress empty. You hear the failed attempts at quiet whispers downstairs and the giggles of your children mixed in with the nervous laughter of your wife as she guides them through making your breakfast.
“What do you want to do today,” was always the question as I would saunter down the stairs. The question always came from my wife first.
“Yeah, Daddy, what do you want to do today? Today is your day!”
But like I think most fathers I would always find something that we would all do. We’d go see a movie – inevitably filled with some noisy animated character. We’d go to another city or out of town or something. It was, without question, the day that I was told I got to make all the decisions. Let’s face it, though, most Dads have no decision making power even on Father’s Day . . . and we’d inevitably end up at the end of the day having dinner with my wife’s parents because, after all, it was her father’s day, too. We would all call my Dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day, too. Father’s Day, let’s face it, is just as much a family day as it is Dad’s day.
I learned how important that was when my wife passed away three years ago.
Andrea died on March 26th, 2011. In that first year we had to deal with my twins’ 8th birthday just a couple weeks later in April. Then came Mother’s Day, the schools having kids make cards and projects and holding a “high tea” for the kids for their mothers and through it all my kids saw that they had no Mom.
Like every year since, my kids spent the summer with my parents. It wasn’t because they wanted to or because it was like summer camp. They spent the summer there because we had to do it. It allowed me to work, in a new job with no vacation time. It still does, though as the kids get older I bring them home a little earlier every year.
But I tend to spend Father’s Day by myself. I should feel bad about that, I suppose, but I don’t. Why? Because, without realizing it, my kids get that family Father’s Day all over again. They’re with my parents, celebrating, telling my Dad Happy Father’s Day.
The best gift I got, though, was my kids calling two years ago. Instead of just “Happy Fathers Day” they told me how happy they were that I got the day to myself.
“You do everything for us, Dad,” was their reasoning. “Now you get to do whatever you want. You get to rest, which you should do on Fathers Day.”
The fact they were thinking of me made me want to enjoy the day. I talked to them more than once that day.
It’s not sad being apart because after everything we’ve been through, distance be damned . . . it’s still a day for my whole family.
Happy Father’s Day everyone!
What about you? Do you share the day with your family? Do you appreciate everything your Dad did for you?