My writing was briefly interrupted by a second eye procedure and I find myself behind on my self-inflicted challenge.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
Looking back five years, I couldn’t have guessed that I would be where I am right now. Having experienced so much over those years that was unexpected makes me realize that I have no way of knowing where I’ll be in five years looking forward.
Yesterday was Father’s Day. I have come to find that these parent celebration days seem to cause many people sadness, anxiety, anger and depression. In my life alone, I know someone who jumps into the day with both feet weighted down and sinks to the lowest of lows grieving for a father who has been gone for twenty years as if he just passed twenty minutes ago. This day brings her an extreme level of suffering and pain.
There is an acquaintance whose father passed a few months ago after a lingering painful illness. It’was her first Father’s Day without her dad and I know she is sad. She made the best of it, tried to deal with her sadness but still experienced some shock that he was actually gone.
Someone very dear to me lost her father without warning recently and she’s still in shock, not fully realizing that he is truly gone. I’m sure the day was not fun for her and knowing her as well as I do, I know she persevered because she’s a fighter.
Another person does a duty drop in with the dad in their life, anxious to begin their “real” plans. They love their dad and I’m unclear on this unwillingness to actually spend more than a cursory half hour with him on a day that’s meant to celebrate him.
There’s the angry guy who has harbored years of bitter feelings over unclear perceived slights. His father has never intentionally set out to hurt or alienate his child and is heartbroken over the loss of any contact with him. There are so many adult children holding grudges and I often wonder about these crimes they suffered by the hands of their fathers. I’m going to say that sometimes people are not nice and they do bad things to their kids. But then there are those dads who are just doing the best they can and maybe they screwed up and don’t know how to fix it. Sometimes things get blown out of proportion and it’s just plain sad that a parent/child relationship is destroyed.
And there are the dads who would give anything to hear from their kids- any day, not just this one day. Maybe they did screw up. Maybe it was really bad. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was the kid who messed up. But at the end of the day, does it really matter?
Don’t get me wrong. There are broken relationships that might be better off broken- for everyone’s sake. I’m not talking about those.
There are the dozens upon dozens who made the required phone calls, sent the card, dropped off a gift, made the flowery social media posts….. some of these actions were heartfelt. Some were made of a sense of obligation. All had to do in some part with the fact that we are told that this is our dad’s day.
But it’s just a day. It’s what you make of it. If you really want to wallow in the depths of despair, go for it. If you want to put your dad on a throne and worship him, awesome. My thoughts on it are- it’s just a day. You don’t love your dad any more or less just because some card company told you to do on that specific day. And if you are a parent and you’re anything like me, you would like your child to acknowledge you not because they were told to but because they genuinely want to.
I spent yesterday with my husband, grandsons, one of our children and my parents. I missed the kids that weren’t there. We cut my dad a little slack when it came to his bad jokes since, after all, it was his day. We gave him that. But really? My dad is not young. He will not be here forever.
So, where do I see myself in five years? I hope that my dad is still here, cracking corny jokes and sharing the same memories as he has my entire life, singing song lyrics when they fit the situation. I don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I will be but I do know that this day- that is just a day- is about celebrating DAD and that’s what I plan on doing whether he’s here or not.
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”