Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

It's Father's Day and, having paid homage to FIL last night, dh & I have been free to spend the day exactly as we (ummm, HE) pleases. I gave him a card this morning, as is our tradition. We watched Meet the Press's memorial tribute to Tim Russert this morning (as a communicator & former print reporter, I loved to watch him in action!), then went to the cemetery to visit our daughter's niche -- then to Tim Hortons for coffee & bagels, Chapters for a browse, grocery shopping & then home. He's happily settled on the couch for the afternoon, watching golf, & has requested lasagna for dinner. I am happy to oblige.

My own father actually called me last night to say he & my mom were heading out of town for a few days. My parents are still in their 60s & not long retired (my dad actually still works part-time). They married very young -- my mom was 19 & my dad was just two days past his 21st birthday & so able to sign all the paperwork legally for himself. In some ways, my dad was typical of his generation. He was a branch banker, eventually rising to the rank of branch manager, & spent long hours at the office. He wasn't as involved as dads today are with their kids. My mother was by far the more central figure in my daily life.

At the same time, he was not a remote figure. When we were toddlers, he would wrestle with me & my sister, & help us build tents on the living room floor out of sofa cushions, TV trays & blankets. He was everyone's favourite uncle, playing ball with my cousins & tossing them high in the air until they got too big to do that anymore (he would have made a fabulous doting grandfather). He'd make popcorn for us every Sunday night to eat while we watched Ed Sullivan as a family, & in later years, took on the roles of barbecuer in chief and Sunday brunch chef extraordinaire.

While my mother would often rant & rave over various things my sister & I had done, my father would remain largely silent. But whenever he did mad about something, boy, you paid attention. I never saw him cry until I was 14 & his mother, my grandmother, died suddenly at the far too young age of 68. It was, & still is, the worst thing in the world for me to witness.

There's been some good reading over the last few days on Father's Day & fatherhood and, a la Mel's Friday blog roundup, I wanted to share a few of them with you. I've read several bloggers in the last few days who mentioned their dhs & wondered why Father's Day wasn't receiving the same amount of hype as Mother's Day typically gets. Today's Toronto Star had an interesting article on this topic, the online version of which is titled "Why doesn't Father's Day matter more?"

In yesterday's Saturday Star, there was a piece on fatherhood after infertility, focusing on a local fertility doctor (not mine) who has helped make some family's dreams come true. Nice to see infertility being profiled through male eyes for once.

I enjoyed Nicholas Kristoff's piece in today's Sunday New York Times about his troubled relationship with his father, titled, The Man Who Wasn't There. I was especially struck by this paragraph, & of course immediately thought of all the bereaved dads out there who have their own brand of "paternal shadows" hanging over them:
"Most of my friends who grew up happily with their dads think of Father’s Day as a contrived holiday. It’s the people with paternal shadows for whom the third Sunday in June takes hold. So it’s not surprising, I guess, that those who are missing out on culturally signified occasions — the loveless on Valentine’s Day; the lonely on Thanksgiving — are the ones who are most affected."

I normally don't spend much time in the sports section, & have zero interest in the NFL, but I was taken with this story about DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys & his wife, & their struggle to have a family. I'm sure you'll find yourself nodding your head throughout the story, as I did.

Whether your children are here on earth, on their way, in heaven, or just a proverbial gleam in your eye, happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.


  1. What a lovely tribute to your father and your husband, who will always be a father to your precious little girl.

    Thanks for sharing the great articles! I'm particularly looking forward to the one about DeMarcus Ware.

  2. Lovely, lovely piece. Thank you. I'm off to read the Ware story. You're right, a lot of these holidays are kinda exclusionary, and the meaning doesn't really sink in until you can't participate. BTW, CDE has a lovely piece up on GITW today. /shameless plug.

    Peace to yours, it sounds like a wonderful, peaceful day.

  3. Hi Lori - haven't had a chance to comment in a while but have been keeping up with your posts. Thank you for this very thoughtful post and for the links to the articles - all were quite poignant.

    I've actually been a little weepier today than I was on Mother's Day. A lot of it had to do with the Tim Russert coverage (we were big fans of him as well), but I think more of it has to do with grieving the father that dh might've been.

    I know I'm speaking in very broad generalities here, but I think the grief of men whose dream of fatherhood hasn't come true gets short shrift a lot - not just in the fertile world (which has a hard enough time understanding the grief of women whose dream of motherhood hasn't come true) but unfortunately in the infertile world too, where the focus seems to be more frequently the women's perspective. Thank you for lifting up that grief and honoring it on this day.

  4. Thank you for this post ... I will be reading the links tomorrow (must clean house as MIL & maybe some of her sisters are popping by on Tuesday - and I am NOT a domestic goddess). Your writing makes me feel like I 'know' people I've never met, like your dad, dh and Katie.

  5. I also saw my father cry for the first time at his mother's funeral. It, too, had a deeply profound affect on me. Our daddies will always hold a special place in our heart.

    And after reading the Nicholas Kristoff piece this morning (I noted the exact same sentence, reading it aloud to my dh) it makes me appreciate me father all the more.

    Thanks for this great post.

  6. All great articles... thanks for sharing.

  7. Beautiful, touching post, Loribeth. I'm looking forward to reading the articles you've referenced. Hope your husband, Katie's father, enjoyed the lasagna.