Fathers (Every) Day
I watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on Sunday and his And Now… segment focused on newscasters saying how much they want to not have their kids around for Father's Day. It's a funny segment and I completely understand it as a father to take the day made for you and not live up to its namesake. On Mother's Day the moms usually take it easy, on birthdays we try to take the day off for ourselves and even Veterans Day is a time for former soldiers to celebrate the time they were enlisted but not any longer. Father's Day is no different.
While it's great to get a day of accolades, that day isn't really indicative of true father's days. Father's day is working all through the week to pay bills so your kids don't worry about being fed and have a place to sleep. Father's day is coming up a little short and sacrificing for yourself so they can have something in your place. It's the day you accept help to make sure that they don't go without. It's the day you find a bigger place so they can stop sharing a room. It's any day you teach your kids a new skill or lesson they'll be able to use in their lives. It's any day that they thank you for teaching them. It's also the days that they don't thank you.
A lot of father's days are thankless. The days when you have to pick your kid up from school for getting suspended and now needing to correct bad behavior. Father's days are the days when that child of yours doesn't want to live up to your expectations and you need to continue to love and support them regardless. It's the day when they get mad at you for doing what's right, not to be liked, but because you love them and you don't want to give up on them. It's the day you lose your job and think what do you do next in order to continue or even find the strength to pick up their families to cross borders and move across continents. Lots of father's days are spent being a father that they didn't have or a better one than they actually did. Father's day begins before the child does something wrong and continues on because once you become a father, every day counts. Even an absent father leaves a void that a child wants filled and longing for every day to be a day with their father.
Father's days are measured in love, experience, dedication and perseverance. Kids don't talk about the good their father's did only on Father's Day, they talk about what happened when they graduated, fed them, got angry with them, hurt them, loved them and showed them something about the world. Father's are always molding the children we helped create and therefore everyday becomes a father's day. You're always making an impact whether you believe it or not. So yeah, not having the kids for that day makes sense. It doesn't make us less, but shows how much more we ARE fathers. Take a step back and realize what you mean to your kids on each day. It's not always pretty and people can downplay your role and that's okay. The work of great fathers is seen over time and after the fact, not always during the time it's happening.
I wrote this thinking of my current struggles with fatherhood. I didn't want to be a father growing up and once I became one I didn't want to stop. And seeing how trying everything is around me and knowing that there's no exact science to this process, I still want to stay and see this fatherhood thing through and not give up on those that need me. I love my children enough to never give up on them; not now, not ever. The greater good is better than temporary comfort. I'll rest easier knowing my efforts weren't in vain. That way when the world CELEBRATES my other father's days, I can relax. But I can only relax after working so hard the rest of those days.
A toast to the fathers. Every day is yours and ours. Make them the best. You don't get days off.