When you think about Mother’s Day and how celebrated the holiday is by all, is anything missing?
Next weekend, we’ll celebrate Father’s Day. We’ll spend a day among family and fathers and thank them for the gift of life and their contributions to our families (Or lack thereof…). We will gather around the dinner table and dad will get the big piece of chicken; the same one that he typically gets every Sunday at dinner. However, this piece of chicken will be “special.”
After dinner, we will go in the living room and let dad have the remote to watch what he would like to watch tonight. The remote that goes to the television that he probably bought, as he sits in the chair he likely bought too. He will open cards and share that moment with his children and maybe his children’s children.
Father’s Day is a point of reflection. While the holiday is much different in the amount of attention given to Mother’s Day, it’s because fathers are celebrated differently. Mothers are celebrated because of their gifts to us that they didn’t have to do. However, the best fathers are those who can make their contributions, those things they ought do, seamless.
There are those fathers who love, care, and provide for their children in a proud way, but many are silent givers. It’s only in reflection that we are able to see their contributions. We hope those reflections don’t happen postmortem; those are the worst. But somehow, we seem to miss those points in each of our perennial celebrations.
Ironically, as we merge the responsibilities of parenthood, due to need or modernization but most likely out of need, mothers are celebrated on Father’s Day. Your timeline will be filled with tweets, Facebook filled with status updates and pictures posted on Instagram of mothers who stood in the place of missing fathers. Let me be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. There’s several mothers who did the job of two when there was only one around. And I applaud them.
But that is what’s missing from Mother’s Day — the same celebration that is given for mothers on Father’s Day, isn’t given to those single fathers on Mother’s Day.
While it’s easy to get frustrated at this occurrence and the contrast with Father’s Day, I know why it happens. It happens because when I think back on my dad and all the things that he did — all my dad asked for was that I say thank you and acknowledge him. He doesn’t like gifts; it’s usually bought with money he gave me or I guess now that I’m older that I probably owe him. He doesn’t want a whole lot of attention or affection, just a simple “Thanks dad.”
That doesn’t make Father’s Day a throwaway holiday or any less important, it just makes it different. Sometimes the difference causes us to confuse that with a feeling of less importance. If we’re guilty of forgetting the importance of Father’s Day, those are personal demons we all need to work through. If you’re having problems working through how you’d like to express your gratitude, think of how you’d approach the day if your father was absent. Try starting with an emulation of the way we thank and herald those who fill the role in that absence. That’s a good start.