Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day.... it's a funny thing

Father’s Day is a kind of interesting day. It doesn’t get the same attention as Mother’s Day, with its breakfast in bed and carefully thought out gifts. Restaurants are not overflowing with offspring treating a parent to lunch. I think most dads are good with the difference.

I know what First Born’s gift is to her dad for Father’s Day. It captures a moment they shared on the most important day since he first held her in his arms almost 27 years ago. I can’t wait to see him not be able to say a word when he opens it.

I also know that Second Born plans to spend some dad/daughter time that doesn’t have to include spending money on her. Maybe she will challenge him to a rousing game of miniature golf or treat him to ice cream at one of his favorite ice cream shops. Maybe a little fishing will be in the cards. There are plenty of options that, no matter how simple, will still make it memorable.

A few weeks ago I found myself hoping for a memory. I wanted the light bulb to go on, to know for a moment there was a glimpse of my dad within the celebration of First Born’s wedding day.

Our daughter made sure to display photos of her grandparents who were not with us that day – both of Spouse’s parents and my dad. Her “something old” was an ID bracelet attached to her bouquet that my husband’s mother had given his father as a gift. At the wedding shower a month earlier we were pleasantly surprised to find a photograph of his mom and other church ladies prominently displayed in the parish hall kitchen. She had been a constant contributor to church bake sales for several years, and this bit of recognition made us feel she was really a part of the upcoming wedding.

But where would I feel the presence of her other grandfather, my dad who was Papa to her and Second Born, and even to The Boy? The closer the day got, the more I wondered if I would sense the connection to him at all.

When the whole spectacular weekend was over it took me a couple of days to realize I never had that moment. I had been so wrapped up in the memories we were making that there was no time to dwell on what might be missing.

During their wonderful honeymoon the Love Couple ran into a few snags – a cancelled flight that delayed their trip for a day, temporarily lost luggage, a rogue taxi that ripped them off – but they had plenty of great stories to tell upon their return.

While wandering around the streets of Rome they stopped at will to take photos or have something to eat. First Born described one stop in particular, a restaurant where they enjoyed an authentic Italian meal. In particular she wanted to tell me about the gentleman who waited on them.

“He reminded me a lot of Papa. He was really sweet.”

There it was. Where else but in a real Italian restaurant would someone charm my daughter into thinking about her grandfather? My eyes filled and I smiled.

Maybe a lot of fuss isn’t made about Father’s Day because dads can be quiet in the way they express themselves, while moms (well, this mom) are right out there with their emotions. For example, a few nights ago Spouse and Second Born were making chocolate chip banana muffins together, and they weren’t even for him (they were a birthday request from one of her closest friends).  That’s his version of love – and he’s right.

So let me wish a Happy Father’s Day to dads everywhere. If you’re really lucky, your kids most likely won’t say it with flowers.

But maybe they’ll say it with miniature golf.

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