I was all set to post my blog, Happiness In Extended Family, when I realized Father’s Day is tomorrow. This got me thinking about Father’s Day and dads in general.
Growing up, my dad may not have been around all that much because he was out working, trying to grow his business so he could support our family, but he was there for main events, birthday parties, soccer matches (he even coached one year), graduations, plays and other events involving my brother and sister. I don’t remember whether he changed my cloth diapers or fed me as a baby. What I do remember is him being around when it counted and when he was needed.
One year when I was in college, my dad came to see me in a musical. He forgot the flowers he was going to give me, and drove all the way from Berkeley to Sausalito and back (which is not a short route) to make sure I had the flowers by the musical’s end. He missed most of the show, yet I got a gorgeous bouquet, a thoughtful, thoughtful gift. He was so proud of me.
My stepfather has been in my mom’s life since 1983 and has been my stepfather since 1988, almost my entire adult life. He’s like a second dad to me, sharing insights, guidance, encouragement, and, of course, fatherly love. We have a special connection because we’re both writers. I had the privilege of being one of the first to read a book he wrote and helped him edit it.
I watch my brother be a dad to my almost teenage nephew and 9-year old niece. He’s a great dad from what I can tell, attentive, present, loving, committed to doing the best for his family and to being the best dad. It’s wonderful.
My husband, Tom, has been dad to our son, The Littlest E, for almost 2 years now and it fills my heart to the bursting point with love and admiration when I see him with our son. There’s no doubt about their connection. I’m at home with our son during the weekdays, but the minute Daddy walks through our front door, it’s “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” I love it when The Littlest E asks first thing, “How was your day Daddy?” and wants to help my husband by taking his computer case into our bedroom. After dinner, while I’m doing the dishes, they’re out in the back playing soccer or baseball (the version for an almost 3-year old) until bath time.
Right now the two of them are at the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival at the Japanese American National Museum on a father and son adventure. They do these outings regularly, whether it’s to the Los Angeles Zoo, or a walkway near Ventura Boulevard. It’s important they have their father/son time together and The Littlest E loves it! It’s their special time.
Tom is an amazing parent. He’s a hands-on kind of dad and gives The Littlest E his nightly bath and reads and sings to him at bedtime. He also takes time off work to attend events at our son’s preschool. He’s fully present in our son’s life. I guess that’s more the norm these days, different from when I was a child. By and large, today’s fathers play an active role in parenting. I look at all the dad bloggers out there sharing their experiences and insights on being a dad and parent: http://brucesallan.com, www.thedadconnection.com, www.therealmattdaddy.com, www.greatdad.com, and www.newdadforlife.com, to name a few. I glean a lot from reading these blogs.
What it all boils down to is Father’s Day is a day we set aside to give special tribute to dads, giving an extra hug or, “I love you.” Yes, it’s a Hallmark holiday, but there’s nothing wrong with a little special treatment. Many dads work tons of hours to provide for their kids and family, so on this day, we acknowledge them. There are military dads overseas or stationed far from family; so on this day we acknowledge them. There are single parent dads. I know some single moms and it’s a tough, tough job, so on this day, we acknowledge the single dads. Then there are dads who stay at home, either by choice or from the loss of a job. Since I stay at home, I know it’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done, so on this day, we acknowledge these stay at home dads. We acknowledge the step-dads who give love, guidance and support to their stepchildren. There are the grandpas, papas, granddads, bubbas, and grandfathers, who love their grandchildren unconditionally, so on this day, we acknowledge them, because they’re dads, too.
I’m not sure what we’ll be doing tomorrow and am leaving it up to my husband. It’s his day after all. To all dads everywhere, I wish you a Happy Father’s Day. You are loved and appreciated. I hope you have a wonderful day.