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.