I sat pondering this question three weeks before Father’s Day and it vexes me. I suppose my answer changes depending on how I look at it, as a son or as a father myself
As a son I would love a day when I made my dad happy, a day full of good memories. For my dad at this stage in life it would be a day fly fishing. Starting with a nice cooked breakfast, then finding our fishing gear and walking to a chalk river to stalk wild brown trout, just a warm summer’s morning, no one around and the sound of birds in the trees, the trickle of the river and the rhythmic sound of fly casting. The morning would have produced couple of nice fish and then as the sun rose, a nice long lunch at a country pub. The afternoon would consist of a drive to the mouth of the river and as the day waned, an hour or two in waders chasing the sea trout or salmon. The day would end for him with no aching joints but with simply fond memories and a glass of 20 year old Laphroaig whiskey. But my dad’s idea of a perfect day could be a very different day from my own…
The Father and Divorced Dad
As a father, my ideal Father’s Day would be a day where my boys laughed and smiled, enjoyed themselves with an abundance of good father and son time. It would be a day where I didn’t have to worry about money, the cost of lunch or getting the boys back to my ex wife on time and where I don’t have to worry how my ex will view it. So swimming in a lake, camping, climbing trees… Or a day at a theme park, it doesn’t matter… Being relaxed and worry free with my boys is all that should matter.
It would be a day when the boys made cards and gifts, not a cheap item where my ex has said you have £5 between you and they have 10 minutes in town to find something! I treasurer these chosen items, but things they have made or are about them means so much more.
Why does this conflict of being both son and father vex me?
What I see as perfect in one role doesn’t sit well in the other. As a father I don’t want to be selfish and think of me. It feels wrong. Is Father’s Day – a day to be selfish and about what you want, or a day about family and your place in it? I don’t like the former and the latter changes as children grow and families change. This is my first year as a Divorced Single Dad who is a non resident parent, so perhaps I am reflecting on this day more than usual.
So what makes both my Father’s Day, as a son and that of a father myself, perfect to me? It is family, happy times, a lack of worry and memories that will last a life time. So that my boys, and I, will sit with their children in 10 or 20 years time and say, “Do you remember that Father’s Day when…”.
Till next time,