My favorite time of year. Father’s Day weekend. It is a weekend filled with lots of emotions. On one hand, I get to spend the weekend with my daughters who simply put, are my reason for being. On the other hand, I miss my father, who passed away just over five years ago. So, it is a bittersweet time of year. And as I look through all of the photos that I have taken over the last fifteen years of my life, I am reminded just how important the title of “Dad” really is. And as the collage demonstrates, my parenthood is careening towards having young adults.
Gone are the tea parties and pretend play. No more animated movies. In fact, my older daughter has already stated her disapproval for the computer generated reboots of Disney classic animated movies that she grew up watching. I really have my fingers crossed that she will at least let me watch “The Lion King.” But on the plus side, they now enjoy watching more topical movies, biopics especially. One of the coolest moments came for me, watching “Bohemian Rhapsody” with my daughters. And they continue to realize the impact that Queen had in the entertainment world. I have already begun to prep them both for “Rocketman”, yes, by encouraging them that the soundtrack for the movie “The Lion King” was written by the Rocketman, Elton John. Their curiosity has been elevated.
Gone are the coloring books, alphabet homework assignments, and learning multiplication tables. I am now looking at full blown essays and interpretations and insight reviewing fiction stories, or research on current events. As I writer, this is definitely one aspect that I really enjoying, and if I do say so, I expect both to exceed what I do.
After changing their minds on what they want to be several times while growing up, there seems to be a direction that both are heading, and they are making decision on course selections based on those directions.
Did I say I was lucky to be seeing these transformations? Healthwise, absolutely. My health scares over the years, yes, I am very lucky to be seeing all of these events. And in divorce, I am also lucky to be seeing my daughters.
Sadly, I know too many fathers, and have read hundreds more stories sent to me of fathers, unable to see their children for any number of reasons. To be fair, there are also fathers out there who have turned their backs on their children, either out of frustration for a system, or denial.
Being a father, missing my daughters, loving my daughters as much as I do, I cannot fathom what would make a father make the decision to turn his back on his child(ren). Did they never want the responsibility of being a father? Did the child not provide any “familial currency”, purpose, or value to the father? Was the father frustrated by constant attempts to interfere with the relationship with his child(ren)? Quite possibly with the assistance of the law and statutes that allow so?
Could it be someone else’s decision that a father is not getting time to spend with his child(ren)? A bitter former spouse using the child(ren) as pawns to exact revenge by refusing to allow the father to see his child(ren)? Does the father even know that he might have children?
Then there is the unimaginable loss every year this weekend comes around. Is the father faced with the loss of a child due to tragedy. We have all heard that a parent should never have to bury their child. But it happens. And then there are those of us, many of us, who have lost our own fathers. As I am now in the second half of my century, many of my school age friends, mourn the loss of the parents, many quite recently.
I miss my Dad. I love my children. I consider myself lucky to have been my Dad’s son. And I am not only proud of my daughters, but I am quite lucky. Lucky to have had both blessings in my life. And to those who face struggles in their lives, with the relationship between father and children, you are in my thoughts, hopes that someday, your situation will resolve positively.