6.15.2008

Father's Day Manifesto

I just don't really like Father's Day. I suppose this has something to do with my general curmudgeonly attitude about holidays, but I don't like it, just the same, and I don't think that's the ONLY reason, even if it's ONE reason. Some study of the Confessions of St. Google actually shows I'm not the only one who feels this way (Check here, here, here, and here, for instance, with varying degrees of this-may-not-contain-nice-language-or-happy-thoughts). There's lots of reasons. Some people it's because there father is dead, or over in Iraq. Some it's because there father is a first-rate... well, insert word for nasty person here of your personal choosing. Some people it's because they think it's too commercial, some people think it's a token nod to a job we don't care enough about. I can sympathize with all these folks (except, my dad is neither dad, overseas, or a jerk. On the contrary he's a wonderful dad, 2 hours north of me, and not in the least bit dead). I look at Father's Day, and I suppose, for me, it seems like a Birtday, like it's a day in which (as a dad) you either enjoy getting lots of presents and cake, feel affirmed in your past year and excited over the future, or reflect over the fact that yet another year is over and you're really not doing any better at your job than you were a year ago. I generally fall in the last category. I'm not a terrible dad, I don't think. But I'm probably not a better dad now than I was, say, 5 years ago. I'm better in some ways, perhaps, but then I'm worse in others, and all in all, it's a wash. It's like trying to decide if so and so was the best president ever, figuring he was okay, at least he didn't run the country into the ground like some other presidents, and then realizing that the president is you (I wonder if Senor Bush feels like that? Well, I'm not going to get on a political tangent, I promise). I mentioned this to a friend at work, bless her kind heart, and she smiled and said 'The fact that you even care means your a better father than most people.' Well, that kind of segues into the other half of being a dad on Father's Day - noone really cares. That's nto really true, I mean SOME people care, just like SOME people care about, say, Labor Day, another sadly neglected holiday. And it's a LITTLE better than Labor Day, in that everyone at least knows what the holiday is SUPPOSED to mean. But, it reminds me of Christmas. Leaving aside the actual origins of the holiday (another debat not worth pursuing at this juncture), most people, in one form or another, say that the inarguable main activity of Christmas in our society - presents - is a way to show their lvoe and appreciation for the people around them. A love that shows itself in commercials about people who are snarky about their ability to get their present shopping done the fastest, or people maing jokes about past gifts, or people rushing in to get something for the person they forget, or arguing about fair and hurting feelings, and making sure the presents are right for this, or that, or angsting over the fact that htey don't have enough money to show everyone how they really feel. Father's Day is the same way. The question coming up to Father's day is never: "Don't you think Fatherhood matters? Isn't it wonderful that your dad raised you from the ground up, and worked hard and sacrificed for you?" It is more often: "So'd, you get your dad anything for Father's Day?" So, I try to get somethign for my dad for Father's Day (though I haven't yet - if you read this, Dad, sorry! Heh...). And I really do love him, and I really do appreciate him, and it's not that I don't think he knows that (although I certainly don't show it as well as I could, but then, knowing me for any amount of time one comes to expect such things ;) ), it's that... well, Father's Day just becomes a sort of meaningless obligation, a tax instead of a gift, you know? N ot one I grudge paying, but I just... wish I could do it from love, instead of from duty, and Father's Day just doesn't seem to offer that option. Anyway, it doesn't matter, and this isn't a 5-Minute Hate at all you Father's Day Lovers out there, and really, I do appreciate the nice presents from the kids, and I really do care about my dad, and everything else. I guess... holidays like this, particularly ones that directly involve me, just leave me feeling very small and powerless and cold. UPDATE: In a long tradition of making a heel out of myself anytime I say something I'm thinking... my boys and Amanda posted a very nice little blog for me for Father's Day. Yay, volleyball... or something... ;)