In the United States, this past Sunday was Father’s Day. I was able to spend mine with my dad this year, which isn’t always the case as he lives in another state and neither of us travels much. This year, however, my parents along with my sister and her two kids came down for a week’s vacation and it was timed allowing Dad, my boys and myself to enjoy the holiday together. It was a great day spent grilling chicken and floating about the pool with some great friends as well as family. By the end of the day, I was exhausted, but it was a good exhaustion that comes when people gather together to celebrate life.
Mother’s Day was initiated in 1909 and a year later, Sonora Dodd believed that the men should have an equal celebration. However, Father’s Day wasn’t as well received. At first, it fell to the wayside because Sonora began studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and lacked the time to promote it. However, in the 1930s, she returned to her hometown, Spokane, Washington and began to raise national awareness. Still, Americans, being the cheap, cynical people that we are, saw it as just another business opportunity by merchants to copy the financial success of Mother’s Day. We hear this cry with every holiday. “Business has made it too commercial. It’s all about money, nowadays. People have lost the true meaning of the holiday.”
The technical term for that type of logic is bullshit. If you want to give me that argument at Christmas, I’ll listen. I might even agree, unless, of course, you’re trying to tell me it’s really about baby Jesus in which case I’ll tell you that it wasn’t always a Christian holiday. Check your history books. However, only ungrateful children would use it as an excuse not to celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Your parents deserve more than just one day a year, to be honest, just for the simple fact that they didn’t feed you to the wolves when you were being an obnoxious brat.
Our parents saw that we were fed, clothed, and had a roof over our heads. Perhaps you didn’t wear the $100 name brand outfits, but you didn’t go to school naked. You may not have had the best meals, but you ate. Your home may have been small and crowded, but you had one. There are children out there who do not have any of those things. There are kids in this world who don’t have a mother or father to remember on these special days. Be grateful if you can pick up the phone and call yours.
I love my father. The values that I hold dear and that I have taught my boys, I gleamed from my father. My strong sense of family, loyalty, and hard work were derived from the examples I saw every day from my father. My parents did without so that my sister and I wouldn’t have to. We never even knew they were making the sacrifices that they did until much later in life. We learned humility from them, as well.
My father is blunt and to the point. He doesn’t tolerate nonsense often from people, and yet, when it comes to his family, his level of patience outshines that of Job. There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for his family, and while he may not agree with our choices, his love and support never wavers. While he may not agree with our decisions, he doesn’t judge us for them. He accepts and loves and beams with pride. “These are my children, and these are my grandchildren.” Like me, his family is his life and his proudest achievement. I strive to make him proud, and yet, I know that no matter what I do, he will always be proud of me, because I am his son. Although he is a head shorter than me, he stands taller than any man I have never known. He is my dad, the greatest man I have ever known.
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