Monday, June 20, 2011

Father Phenomenon

Another supercalifragilisticexpialidocious holiday is behind us. Father's Day.

I'm torn about the whole thing. On one hand, it's so early in Kadin's career as a dad that I felt I should do something maybe kind of a little bit special (the mister is NOT a fan of holidays). As a parent you are scared straight because you have no experience, no road map and are basically on the most important journey of your life: raising a teeny human being to be a functional, happy, healthy non-serial killer. So that deserves encouragement or some kind of good-job-so-far celebration, right?

Especially when the father we are talking about has his own unusual father story. Maybe said father's father is a Rastafarian who has at least 11 children by six different women and didn't parent but for an occasional phone call every few years. So maybe said father was raised--with plenty of time living in a third world country--by his single, kick-ass mother until the age of seven, when Mr. Wonderful Stepfather came into the picture. But still, seven years is a long time to be fatherless. And then, said father is here today taking care of Sabine in the most so-sweet-and-selfless-your-heart-can-barely-take-it ways (my favorite, and one of many: he gives her a bath and reads her bedtime stories every night). So said father definitely deserves props, no?

On the other hand, it's a Hallmark holiday. And I firmly believe that every day, or at least more than once a year, you should tell your husband or your father thank you, how much you love him and that he's incredible (unless he sucks, of course).

But then what about the rest of the fatherless world? How did Kadin feel on Father's Day before the age of seven, when he almost never heard from his father? I also wonder about everyone else, children and adults, who were or are fatherless. While people are presenting neck ties to, brunching or playing golf with their dads, there are a gazillion people sitting on their couches alone, flipping through bad television and mourning the loss of a father or the fact that they never really had one. Now that can actually break your heart. Well, it can break mine--and definitely theirs.

So I didn't get too crazy on Father's Day. I presented Kadin with his favorite meal (French mussels via takeout, thank you very much) and we ate it evening-picnic style on the sheet-cloaked living-room floor after tiny monster went to bed.

And I thought and thought and had a beautiful breakfast with my own father, who had a father and a stepfather who both left him. Despite this, my father worked and put four children through college; took care of my dying mother by himself for an entire year without a single complaint or show of fatigue; has listened to every one my broken-heart stories and career tribulations; rode me on the bar of his ten-speed bike even though my mother told him not to; has given me endless amounts of encouragement, advice and support; forgave me too quickly when I crashed his car; and anonymously sent roses to me at high school on my eighteenth birthday.

To my father and Kadin, thank you for giving so much of what you never got. This makes you extraordinary and the most tender of superheroes.

And to everyone out there whose father is somewhere else, I thought about you yesterday, which ultimately, is just another day.


Dana said...


Leslie said...

Ok, sorry, I can't stop commenting on your posts today! Love this one. So well said. It's amazing when people turn out to be such great parents, when they didn't have their own parents to learn from. That is amazing, I think.


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