This is probably the most absent Father’s Day that I’ve had since getting my “Father” membership card on May 13th, 2000. Every Father’s Day since my oldest was born has been a big deal. Some kind of gathering, cards, and sometimes a shared Father’s Day celebration between our household and having my own father over for some kind of grilled meat, desserts, and the typical “thanks dad” shenanigans.
But this year is different.
This will be the first year that all my kids aren’t here under one roof celebrating what an amazing dad I am. My oldest is in Chicago celebrating Pride Month with her girlfriend, and my youngest is working from 10-4. Our 19-year old moved out of the house two weeks ago(that’s a whole other emotional shift in the paradigm.) So today this morning it’s just my wife and our 11-year old miniature schnauzer. It’s an oddly vacant feeling.
Before you start thinking this is some pity party post, don’t get ahead of yourself. I’m not really a fan of these made up holidays. You know the ones; Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day, and the like. Most of these are guilt-based holidays. “You don’t show your gratitude to ‘ol mom and dad enought throughout the year. You need to have one whole day to celebrate them!” “Jesus was born today! Buy some presents for your kids!” “You don’t show your special someone enough love, so Whitman’s Sampler has you covered!”
Of course there’s two holidays I fully approve of and those are Thanksgiving and Halloween. Thanksgiving is food, cocktails, laughter, and more food later on. Not only that, but it doesn’t have to be family-based. Your family was a shit show growing up? You can celebrate with friends on Thanksgiving. I mean, your “giving thanks”. Be thankful with those you’re happiest to be around. And Halloween? No explanation necessary. It’s Halloween; masks, trick-or-treating, horror movies, brisk fall air, changing leaves, and horror movies.
Father’s Day is a made up holiday, much like all the others mentioned. I feel it’s for small children who get excited for any circumstance involving arts and crafts(homemade cards) and desserts. I’m good with that. Or it’s for the dad that’s never around or takes the time to be a present dad year round and it’s their chance to feel special. Or it’s for the lousy adult kid that never shows their appreciation for their father(or either parent for that matter) and it’s the only day in the year where they do their offspring duty and drop dad a card and scram.
I don’t begrudge anyone that enjoys this day. Like I said, it was a big deal when the kids were little at Ranch Hubner. But I’d much rather have kids that show me appreciation year-round in little ways; hanging out watching movies, going out to dinner, showing kindness to others besides those they feel they need to. Maybe even take the time to do some laundry or pick up the house before they leave for the day(I know, I’m pushing it.)
I feel like a pretty good dad all the time because all my kids are that way on a daily level. Anyone I run into that knows or knew any of my children can’t say enough kind things about them. “Polite”, “quiet”, “kind”, “funny”, and “thoughtful” are jus a few words used to describe the three I’m proud to call my kids. I don’t need a special day in June to be celebrated because I did my job as a dad. I was there for them. I worked and made money to keep a roof over our heads and food in the fridge. I played with them and rocked them to sleep. I sat up with them when they were sick as little kids. We had snacks for dinner sometimes, and went to museums, amusement parks, and lots and lots of movies. I helped with homework when I could, and refered them to their mom when I couldn’t.
Some had a lousy dad, which makes this day hard on them. If you had a shit dad, then I’ll be your surrogate dad. So here it goes, “You’re a good kid and I’m proud of you. Keep doing what you’re doing because you’ll make it and achieve all of those goals. You know why? Because you’re just that special. And it’s all you. All I did was yell at you to clean your room once in a while and let you watch R-rated movies when you were 10. All your successes are yours alone. Love, dad.”
All of this to say, if you’re a shit of a child to your parents maybe try to not be. Don’t wait for one day out of the year to pay attention to the people that brought you into this world and gave you 18-years of their life to make sure you had everything you needed to succeed. And if you were a shit dad to your kids while they grew up, shame on you. You don’t deserve anything. Sit with your failure today and leave your kids be(is there a Hallmark card that says that?)
So while my kids may not be in the house, I still feel them here. They echo throughout every room in our family home, as if they’re still here waking me up to give me their homemade cards and eat cinnamon rolls. That’s good enough for me.