Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 (St. Joseph’s day) since The Middle Ages. This celebration was brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19 is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Mother’s Day, Siblings Day, and Grandparents Day.
It wasn’t celebrated in the USA until the turn of the 20th century.
My family has held our family reunion on Father’s Day weekend for something like the past 50 years. The observation of the day was important to me during the years Sandy’s dad and my dad were living. Both of those good and decent men fulfilled the role of dad pretty darn well . . . but being different men, they did it in different ways. Each of them looked after their families and worked hard to provide for them.
As a dad myself, I appreciate Courtney and Chris loving on me as well as their expressions of love and appreciation. I think that I have been a pretty good dad, but still wish that I could have been better. As a Pappy, I am both delighted and humbled.
But such is not the case for everyone. It makes me sad, but some folks who I love really struggle with the whole notion of Father’s Day . . . just as they struggle with the memory of a very selfish dad who was much more concerned with his own desires than with their needs. For the life of me, I cannot even remotely comprehend how a man could produce a child and then for all practical purposes abandoned said child, or place material things above him or her. That moment I stood before that nursery room window and looked for the first time upon each of my children, I was forever transformed in pretty much every way . . . emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I knew for a fact that the Lord had entrusted me with something really special, and I wanted to rise to the highest level of my ability.
Over a 40+ year career in affordable housing, I have known many families that were deprived of the love, nurture, and protection of a father . . . because that dad was more concerned with his own desires than with his family. That reality impacts kids and leaves them with many questions.
Last week during a fuel stop I observed in that truck-stop parking lot what was clearly an absent and away dad, accompanied by his new love, picking up his little girl for their weekend visit. As I filled the motor home with fuel, I watched as they walked back to his car and the mother stood alone looking on. Of course, I don’t have a clue what went wrong in the relationship, but I do know that mess leaves a big hole in the little girl.
God intends for a man to look after his family . . . and that clearly means putting his will aside and being focused on his family.
I also know a few guys who are terrific dads who simply are unable to fulfill God’s plan and his own desires to live with and look after his children. There are situations where the mom is so difficult, contrary, and full of herself that the guy is forced to flee the home. My heart breaks for those good men and their children.
I wish I was able to figure it all out and do something to fix it, but of course I cannot. I can only do my job as a dad and a Pappy and when the opportunity presents itself, try to be a good, positive influence on young dads.
This year I spent Father’s Day away from home. I am overseeing repairs to our West Texas properties . . . some of it is just on-going maintenance . . . siding, fascia, soffits, cedar trim, exterior painting and such. Other items are those things that suffered damage from a series of hail storms.
Courtney has been working in Midland for several months and she drove to have lunch and spend the day with me. We had a sweet time and reminisced about her childhood, which we both like to do . . . but it is always a bit humorous in that we remember parts of it quite differently. She gave me a card that said, “Dad, we don’t have to see eye to eye to still be connected heart to heart.” That sums up our relationship. We tend to struggle with the challenge of simply being too much alike . . . both being with strong opinions and the need to express them and . . . then defend them! Perhaps we are entering a new stage of our relationship where we can laugh at ourselves some.
Sandy took Chris to brunch at the Yacht Club to honor him as a Dad. Sandy later reported they had a sweet time. I would have liked to have seen him and his girls for the day, but that just wasn’t in the cards this year. The little girls did call Aunt Courtney’s phone to FaceTime with us. Ali said that she was going to church camp next week.
All in all, it was a sweet day, but I do miss Sandy. She was my accomplice in this parenthood adventure. I thank God for permitting me to be a dad . . . and allowing Sandy and me to raise our kids to be productive adults. I thank God for my little granddaughters. They, with my kids, are certainly one of my primary focuses in prayer.