Yesterday I talked to my dad. I called mostly to ask if he will be available to shuttle me back and forth from DFW when I fly to Detroit next week, but before we hung up I said, “Happy Father’s Day tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll call you again, since I was lame-o and didn’t get a card in the mail.”
He chuckled and said, “Okay. Good to know. I look forward to being surprised by your call.”
After I hung up I thought about the fathers in my life. My dad, the father of my children, and the future fathers of my (potential) grandchildren. And I realized something amazing and perhaps rare. I’m surrounded by fatherly greatness.
Every year when Father’s Day rolls around, I see articles written by people who grew up fatherless or abused or who’ve lost their dads and desperately miss them. The holiday looms large and oppressive, a reminder of what they don’t have or never had. Greeting card racks or store displays showcasing golf balls, silk ties, electronic doodads or other dad-type items only magnify their pain or loss.
The irony is, while they feel the holiday keenly, I hardly notice it. I’m sure part of the reason is distraction and pure laziness, but I think it goes deeper than that.
Suppose someone in your family becomes a rock star. When you’re out in public with him you notice people staring and snapping surreptitious photographs. The bolder ones approach, giggly and starry-eyed, to ask for an autograph. But to you he’s just your goofy cousin who always made up funny songs to make you laugh. You don’t get the hype, because living around that kind of talent is your norm.
I suppose Father’s Day is no big deal to me because off-the-charts fatherly talent is my norm. I was loved, cherished, nurtured, taught, disciplined, and trusted as a child. My kids received the same beautiful gifts from their dad. And I’m 100% confident my sons (I include my son-in-law in that group, because I love him like a son) will do the same. I don’t need one day out of the year to force me to especially love these men. If I loved them any more than I already do, my heart might explode.
But a designated day is an opportunity to remember and express appreciation for things I all too often take for granted. The fact that beautiful fathers are my norm makes them no less beautiful and worthy of celebration. So I think I’ll quit writing this and go make that “surprise” call to my dad. Then I’ll spend the rest of the evening with the amazing man I married.
To all you other fathers (and potential fathers) out there, happy day to you, too. Rock on.