Tim and Finn got up early this Father’s Day morning and headed out to do some father-son bonding, which allowed us girls to do our favorite things. Keara slept; Molly watched Friends and Hawaii Five-O; I cleaned. Now, cleaning isn’t my very favorite thing, but having a clean house is, so it ultimately worked out. It’s eleven a.m. and I’m done, except for some piles of laundry sitting on the garage floor.
I also had a chance to read an article about the inception of Father’s Day and what a rough road it faced to garner acceptance. The first Father’s Day occurred in 1908, the same year as Mother’s Day, but unlike Mother’s Day, it was decades before it was made official by Congress. Honoring father’s was considered a joke – in part because the men in charge seemed to think it was “sissy” to be thanked and honored by women and children. The second reason so many people resisted the holiday was the cultural image and expectations we had of fathers. For millennia, until the last half century, fathers were thought of as “providers” (first of sperm, then of sustenance) and little else. If a father made sure their offspring didn’t die, then they had done their job. It was the mothers who mattered.
Well, a lot has changed in the last fifty years. We know fathers matter now. The statistics have shown how much better kids with present, active, engaged fathers perform – scholastically, socially, psychologically, emotionally. It doesn’t mean kids without dads are doomed; it just means the kids who have them are privileged in some pretty significant ways. I know I was and I know Tim wasn’t.
But our kids have the privilege of being raised by Tim, who has turned out to be a pretty amazing dad. While most young men are driven at that time in their life by monetary goals and career success, Tim was driven by one thing: he wanted to be a good husband and a present father. As twenty-year-olds, when we dreamed about our life together, it was always about how we could be there for our kids’ soccer practices and sick days, how we could take time off to spend to spend at the beach, or go to the mountains, how we could show up for each other, each and every day.
Tim was a great provider – of both sperm and sustenance – but he provides so much more. He provides humor and a calming influence; he provides the voice of reason and the safety regulations; he provides theLove and pride, encouragement and wisdom we need to become all we are meant to be. Having a good father in the house is good for me too.
For all those men out there, who provide so much more than the basics, thank you. This is your day.
And to my own father, thanks for providing so much more.