Father’s Day has undergone quite a transformation in my life. For several years, I had a bit of an adversarial relationship with Father’s Day. I lost my Dad in 2003 to Pancreatic Cancer and every Father’s Day following was just a surreal reminder that that wonderful man always put up with my childhood and teenage nonsense but never got a real shot at enjoying his son as an adult. When you’ve had a good father, and he has been taken from you seemingly prematurely, Father’s Day can feel like an old wound or injury that still causes some intense pain if you tweak it wrong. If I’m honest, there are still days where his absence just owns me but Father’s Day was a guaranteed downer.
From there, the holiday kind of took a shift. Having grieved, I was able to temper the painful reminder of Father’s Day with a pride in the legacy he left to me. The sting was still there but it was now coupled with some deep appreciation for the opportunity to be molded by a good man, which I have come to realize is a gift not everyone gets.
Then my daughters began arriving. Suddenly, and without warning, the meaning and significance of this holiday started to expand. Father’s Day took on so much depth where I was simultaneously feeling the regret of no longer having my own father, the pride in who my late father was, and this new joy in being a father myself. And this is where I currently reside. Father’s Day is an emotionally exhausting balancing act but it has become a day I relish.
In light of this transformation, there is only one thing I want for Father’s Day. All I want is for things to slow down, just for the day. Shirts and ties and BBQ accessories and things are cool but if I have 1 wish, let’s spend the day at a mozying pace. Let’s sip coffee, good coffee, and watch the sun find its way above the horizon. Let’s get to church with some time to spare and get everybody settled. Then let’s worship, really worship. Let’s feast on good food, not fast food. Let’s find a golf tournament on TV and doze our way through the course or sit on the porch and read a book just for the sake of reading or sit by the pool and watch the kids smack each other with those noodle things. Let’s laugh. Let’s turn on some music and let the girls dance around. Let’s allow the sun to set and the sky to darken without a thought to Monday’s tasks. Let’s breathe deep and take it easy.
The only thing I want for this holiday is to slow it way down. Because, it won’t be all that long until these girls are walking through Father’s Day without me and the slow times are how I want them to remember me. Dads, take the holiday as an opportunity to imprint memories in the minds of your little ones. Happy Father’s Day, guys. You’ll be great.