Another Dad’s Day has come and gone. It seems that Father’s Day has escaped the holiday expansion trend. We make a bigger deal over holidays than what I remember from the past. Halloween is through the roof, Valentine’s Day is ridiculous, even Ground Hog day has gone national. Oh and Christmas, don’t get me started. I have no problem with Mother’s Day being bigger. I do empathize with all of the women who aren’t or can’t be mothers but, well, even they have moms. But Father’s Day is still a quiet family day, a few hardware sales, and an excuse to take a long nap on the couch.
And that’s exactly what I did on my Father’s Day, in between fielding calls from my son and daughter. I laid on the couch, my leg bent with my knee cocked in the air, while watching the Phillies and tossing pretzels to my dog. Major League Baseball dressed in blue, but I think that was just because they dressed in pink for Mother’s Day.
Anyway, it occurred to me, that’s exactly what my Dad used to do. I’ve become my father. He would take over the couch, before he got his green Naugahyde Lazy Boy recliner, and pretend to take in a game on the console color TV. How a TV could be styled in Early Colonial is still a mystery.
This year I avoided church, the key chain, and the friendly reminder about how important men are in a child’s life. But it occurs to me that my father is more important to me now than when I was a kid. It is my memories of him when I was a kid that make him so important to me now.
Now that only two of my three children can call me, I think about how my father stoically went through his weekday and weekend. Occasionally a show of emotion, sometimes a laugh, and every decade or more—a tear. He was the first born American of Scottish descent. An only child whose mother was the model of the British stiff upper lip and the Queen’s English. Despite her living with us, their relationship was formal and remained distant their entire life.
I may have been on the couch, and the Phillies may have been on the TV, but my thoughts, my heart, my spirit were with my children—all three. It makes me wonder if I look and act so much like my father, I must think and feel like him too, right?
So while that quiet little man threw pretzels to the dog, he must have, he had to of, been thinking about us—his family. When he was driving to work wearing his brown wing tipped shoes, he must of, he had to of, been thinking about his losses—his father, his mother, and his last child that was never born.
But he never mentioned it, not to us, it wouldn’t have been proper. Not Scottish. It was a different time when most Dad’s were trapped in themselves and left some guy on TV named Ralph or Ward do their talking for them. Rather, he got up on time, signed his kid up for little league, and saved for a vacation at the beach. No credit cards, no debt, no money. He provided security, what a kid needed most.
And that’s what I still need. So when my world was rocked, when my oldest kid was taken, when my rug was pulled and I was falling fast—I fell not on my feet, I fell on my knees. It was because of the foundation he helped build in my life.
So thank you Dad and thank you to all the fathers out there that are quietly building a foundation that will last a life time in your children, no matter how short that life may be.
Andy is a Clinical Psychologist who lost his son in a motorcycle accident and now authors articles on bereavement. The quiz is available! Go to http://andymdavidson.com/Home/Pgd to find out if you may have Prolonged Grief Disorder. Look forward to his upcoming posts, and books. Follow him at his website, AndyMDavidson.com and Facebook.com/ThroughLifeandLoss to find out more about prolonged grief.