I have become accustomed to my friends making a bigger deal out of Mother’s Day than Father’s Day over the years, primarily because back when we were growing up it was still the norm for mothers to stay at home and raise us kids while Dad went off to work — forming a special bond between mom and child, naturally making them closer.
The working career woman juggling motherhood was just kicking off back then in the ’80s. In my family things were much different during those years. My father not only raised my younger brother and I on his own, he worked full time. Maybe he succeeded because his career was all about kids to begin with — he started out as a teacher and coach so he always understood kids. I know he loved those teaching days, but in order to make more money he climbed the career ladder and became an administrator at the largest public school system at the time in the suburbs of St. Louis. As I look back now and remember how he juggled such a career in addition to teaching two nights a week at the local community college, all while raising us on his own — it exhausts me.
Not once do I remember him taking a sick day. Not once did he complain — at least that I know of. Not only that, we could always count on him to help us with our homework, special projects or study for a test, be our personal chef and taxi driver, coach our numerous athletic teams, be the dependable and on-time spectator at all our band concerts, various ball games and other activities — anything my brother and I decided to tackle throughout our school years. The best part was that he maintained his great sense of humor and made everything fun for us through those years.
I was editing a story for this Father’s Day issue about how there is now a “Dad Divide to go with the Mommy Wars” since fathers are more and more becoming the nurturing stay-at-home parent while mothers bring home more of the bacon. As a career woman myself I absolutely respect both the men and women who make their homes work for the best interest of their family, not their egos.
This brings me back to the full meaning of Father’s Day. To me, this means the day should be celebrated even more now that fathers have become so much more involved in nurturing their families. Last month, the week leading up to and including Mother’s Day, we had full pages of advertising in this newspaper devoted to Mom — hardly anything for Father’s Day this year. Where is the respect for Dad?
Things have changed so much and I think it’s about time we honor Dad much more on Father’s Day. Let’s face it ladies, I know many men who are better cooks now than women, and that has to be a plus at the family dinner table.
So today think about all your father has done for you, and celebrate him whether he is still with you or not. I’m lucky mine is still around and that I get to go home in a few weeks to spend some time with him, but I know many of my friends who have lost their fathers and wish they would have spent more time with him when he was alive. So don’t just get Dad a tie, go DO SOMETHING with him today!
Memories are all we have and I cherish the ones I’ve made with my father through the years, and look forward to sharing many more. Maybe it’s just me getting older or the fact that I find myself acting just like him — yes, I often get friends and family telling me I’m just like him, and I want to thank them all because I can’t think of a better compliment in this lifetime.
Happy Father’s Day!
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