It seems hard to believe that we are already in the middle of June. Somehow the first half of this year managed to fly by and is mostly just a blur, for me at least.
The calendar tells me that another Father’s Day is upon us, and this Sunday many will be celebrating fathers and father figures with barbeques and cold beverages, or on a boat with lines in the water in hopes of catching dinner.
As I wrote at this time last year, I typically shy away from dedicating my editorial space to ‘Hallmark’ holidays; it is not my forte, and others do a much better job writing about these sorts of things. That said, as a father of two fine young men, I know that this weekend offers a fine opportunity for fathers and their offspring to gather together and celebrate family.
Over the more than two years of the pandemic, gathering for something like Father’s Day was strongly discouraged and my sons and I respected the mandates. As a result, for that two-year period we only saw each other in person twice. Now that the mandates have been lifted and life is returning to some sort of normalcy, it is a welcome change to be able to gather together once again.
Like most fathers, I enjoy spending time with my boys, though admittedly, now that they are both grown men with busy lives, it becomes more of a challenge to get together, particularly if I want to see both of my sons at the same time. Life gets busy, schedules become complicated, and that is simply how life evolves.
Where once they were adorable little boys who would hold their dad’s hand while crossing the road, now they are men. One is a chef at an upscale restaurant that is well out of my budget, and the younger boy is on the road to becoming a plumber.
As my sons have grown I am often reminded of a comment made by comedian Norm MacDonald during an appearance on the David Letterman show. The two men were discussing their children. At the time, Letterman’s son was a toddler, while Norm’s son was 18. “They get far less cute,” Norm advised Letterman, which of course drew both applause and a knowing laughter from the audience.
Your role as a father certainly changes over time. A four year old needs a different kind of fathering than does a 23-year old, and as the years pass, fathers adjust in order to remain engaged in their children’s lives, if not to remain relevant.
Parenthood is not something for which any of us receive any real training. Both men and women stumble their way through in the early going as they learn the ropes of parenthood, and along the way there are a range of emotions from frustration to love and admiration.
My own father passed away nine years ago after losing a battle with lung and brain cancer, so there is no opportunity for a father’s day fishing trip, or a backyard barbeque, only memories and reflections. Such is the path of life.
My two sons are the true treasure in my life. I’m not one to get all mushy about these things, but I am extremely proud of the young men that they have grown into, and I am thrilled every day that, though now adults, my sons communicate with me near daily, and they visit as often as they can. Just having your adult children like you can feel like an achievement after the years of challenges presented during parenthood.
To all of the dads out there, whether your children are young, or if they are grown and have children of their own, this is your weekend, and given all that we’ve been through the past couple of years, make the most of the opportunity to spend time with your kids and enjoy them.
This pandemic experience has certainly taught me that there are no guarantees in life, and we can quickly find ourselves facing difficult choices, or indeed orders, that can significantly alter our daily lives.
So a Happy Father’s Day to all, and I hope that this weekend is a time to re-connect with family and to share special moments that can only be found with our offspring.