Father’s Day is a trick.
It’s a trick and a conspiracy and a trap and anything else you want to call it — as long as you’re calling it something that is borderline deceitful. It preys on our insecurities, falsely inflates our valuation of our self-worth and, quite frankly, is an offense to the senses as a clear attempt to placate fathers who have their feelings hurt that mothers had their own day to be celebrated.
Check the facts. The very first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1914, thanks to a proclamation by then-President Woodrow Wilson. On the flip side, the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910. That tells me that... Well, I guess it tells me that Father’s Day came first.
Stupid facts. Always getting in the way of a good narrative.
I’d long considered it the consolation prize of parental holidays, as mothers (rightfully so) were treated to brunches, sleeping in late, flowers and heart-felt platitudes of adoration. Father’s Day, on the other hand, basically featured a bunch of dads barbecuing food while their kids drove them crazy. At least that was how I saw things.
But, truth be told, I’ve grown to love Father’s Day over recent years.
Sure, it helps that I’m now a father, and everything hits home a little more when someone you love and cherish offers you kind words for any reason. When you’re used to hearing how mean you are or how unfair the world is, having that person who occupies so much real estate in your heart say, “Happy Father’s Day,” or “I love you,” or “Maybe you’re not the worst thing in the world” goes a long way.
Don’t discount the impact of a kind word that comes from an unlikely source. I had a master sergeant in the Marine Corps that seemed to alternate between questioning the very makeup of my manhood to eviscerating me for stealing too much of his oxygen. But every time he did have something positive to say to me (well, the one time), it hit home and left me walking a little bit taller that day. The kid has the same kind of impact, even if she might be a little bit scarier than the battle-hardened master sergeant who terrorized me in my youth. I mean, this child can really put me on alert. The one time as I was napping under...
But I digress.
My point is that Father’s Day does indeed carry a little more weight for me now that I am, in fact, a father. It’s not that I need a day to celebrate all the undeniable awesomeness that is me, or some time by myself to bask in the glory that should be showered down upon me at all times because of my aforementioned awesomeness, as much as I know in advance it is going to be a day that, well, rocks.
Father’s Day, by default at my home, is my day.
There are no others in the house who can claim to be a father. Wife’s a girl. Daughter’s a girl. The cat, dog and fish are girls. The only other male in my house is a bearded dragon who lives in a glass tank, so unless he’s been crawling out of his tank at night and visiting bearded-dragon places of ill repute, it’s just me.
I’m the father, so Father’s Day is all about this guy. Which means I call the shots on Sunday.
Poker tournament? Sitting on the couch in boxer shorts all day with a can of spray-cheese in one hand and another, larger can of spray-cheese in the other while watching other people play sports on television? A one-person whiskey-tasting event?
All possible. All very possible.
Perhaps a movie marathon featuring Rambo, the Corleone family and a dusty collection of Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar shoots?
Maybe a little less possible. I don’t own a VCR anymore.
Spear fishing? Mountain climbing? Triathlon?
No, no, no. Unless those are events I can watch on television while I double-fist cans of cheese. Then, maybe. Maybe.
Waking up early, having breakfast with the kid and sitting outside while I drink coffee and she attempts to talk with birds?
Now you’re talking.
The best part of Father’s Day is, well, being the father. It’s a day I personally get to celebrate the fact that I have a tremendous kid, and I get the honor of trying to help her become a tremendous adult. It’s feeling her wrap her arms around my neck when she’s tired or scared, sharing a belly laugh on the porch over a silly joke and watching her actually read her first word by sounding it out by herself.
I’m going to enjoy this Father’s Day by acting like a father — and possibly with some spray cheese.