Today is Father’s Day. I used to get stressed out just thinking about this holiday. I wanted to be able to spend time with my dad in Toronto, my step-dad in Hamilton, and my step-dad’s family, as we usually celebrated my grandfather’s birthday coming up soon afterwards. The day was always a matter of trying to balance everything.
Sometimes I did a really good job of this juggling act …
- I managed to do breakfast with one person, lunch with another, and dinner with a third.
- Occasionally, I tried to celebrate Father’s Day early with some people and on time with others. Everyone had input on this decision, and everyone seemed happy with the results.
And other times, every ball seemed to come crashing down. It was during these years that I either didn’t make it into Toronto until the next weekend and/or missed one of the family events closer to home. While my dad, step-dad, and grandpa always seemed to understand, I still worried that I might have disappointed someone.
One year, my mom and step-dad were away for Father’s Day, so I celebrated beforehand with them. The Saturday before Father’s Day was also better for my dad, so I went in early to Toronto to have a Father’s Day breakfast with him, and then I had Father’s Day all to myself. Would you believe that my grandfather’s birthday festivities were also delayed that year, so that my mom and step-dad would be back from their holidays first?! I remember thinking that this was the calmest Father’s Day ever! I didn’t feel the stress of trying to see everyone, and I even got a wonderful, quiet Sunday just for me. But then this year came …
This is my first Father’s Day without my dad. I miss him.
- I miss our nightly talks even if they were short.
- I miss going to see him, and watching him get so excited to attend and help lead the Saturday synagogue services.
- I miss hearing him say, “I love you!”
- I miss his hugs.
- I miss the little kiss on the cheek he always gave me when I arrived and before I left.
- I miss his excitement, and genuine interest, over my teaching experiences.
- I miss our conversations about world events.
- I miss his love of bridge, and his many references to Master Points. (This is a game I still don’t understand, but I know that he adored.)
- And I miss the connection that we forged in those later years when our relationship truly changed.
I have an amazing family, with an incredibly supportive mom and step-dad, whom I absolutely love. I know that the two of them want desperately to make today easier for me. To think that even a year ago, I was overwhelmed with so much to balance on Father’s Day, and now I would do anything in the world to have these problems again. For everyone out there having a difficult Father’s Day, know that you’re not alone. And for others, remember to hug your dad tightly, give him a kiss, and tell him just how much you love him, for when the time comes that you can’t do this again, you truly do wish that you did so more often.
You have a gift of always sending the most beautiful messages. I have not had a dad in my life for 40 years and I was never blessed with having a Grandfather and so every year on this day I reflect and wonder how different I may have been had I been able to have this special type of relationship. I was, however, lucky enough to have a Father-in-law who loved me like his own for 38 years but even he is gone now. Thinking of you on this very stressful day and thank you for this beautiful message.
Awww … thanks Maureen for such a lovely note! So glad that you had a Father-In-Law in your life that truly acted as a father figure. Thinking about you today too, as for anyone that’s lost someone special in their lives, today can definitely be a hard one.
Hugs to you! This Mother’s Day was my first without Mom and I shared many of these same feelings on that day about her. Today I am feeling extra emotional about Father’s Day and making sure I spend it with Dad. Here’s to them!
Thanks Ramona! Sending a big virtual hug your way. Lots of big emotions on these days. I was speaking to my mom about this the other night, and while she lost her dad at a very young age, she still mentions the difficulties that come on days like this. I am very grateful for my amazing step-dad and my mom, and thankful that I can celebrate Father’s Day with both of them, who can also empathize with my feelings around today. Thinking about you …
Aw, all the hugs coming your way, Aviva. Finding a little time to quietly remember and celebrate your father is a good way to honour him, his memory, and the way he influenced your life. Such a lovely picture of the two of you!
Thanks Kristi! I’m definitely taking this time today. I’m also very grateful for an amazing step-dad, and a chance to spend some time with him and my mom today.
Thanks, Aviva for sharing this. I admit, you made me thankful, yet again, that I was raised by weird, countercultural parents who believed that the goal was to be kind to your parents, and each other every day, rather than buying in to “Hallmark holidays” as they put it. I admire your determination to find time for everyone.
My dad has been gone for 17 years. He was not an easy human to live with or to please, and, to be honest, I am much like him sometimes. He challenged me, though, to be better, to push my learning, to not get comfortable, and those things I inherited from him, I am thankful for. I am blessed to have a father in law, who loves me unconditionally, but also doesn’t require a particular day for me to let him know that, more than I do any other day.
Thanks for the think!
Thanks for sharing this, Lisa! It’s funny, as I think that Father’s Day mattered more to my dad than to my step-dad. My step-dad is not a fan of Hallmark holidays and is never looking for a big celebration or a focus on him. This morning though, I sent him an Amazon gift card, as I know that he loves to read. He wrote me the kindest email back, and what caused me to tear up more than anything else, was his acknowledgement that today would be a hard day for me and my mom, and that he’s always there for both of us. While there are a few days during the year that seem harder for me — as I’m sure that they are for you too — I always find this Father’s Day time really challenging. I wondered why, and then I remembered that it was about 4 years before he passed away, that he ended up in the hospital right at this time of the year. I was trying to pack up and move schools at the same time that I heard about his deteriorating health, and I can still feel now that overwhelming feeling that I did back then. Maybe the month reminds me of that day that I got the news, and the day that my whole world changed. It’s funny how memories do that to us.
It sounds like you inherited some amazing traits from your dad! I’m glad that you have a father-in-law that loves and supports you as much as he does. He sounds like an amazing person, and someone to celebrate on any day of the year!