The Stark Reality of My Father’s Day

mum and dad photo
My Mum & Dad, from many years ago.
Ah Father’s Day. A day that should be fun, easy, light and enjoyable, with kids showering Dad with love and tokens of their affection. I see it on Facebook and on TV, so it must be true, right? I mean, I love my kids and I know that they love me too, so we’re good to go in that department.

Except for that pesky thing called reality. This year my two younger ones are in Germany with their Mom, attending a wedding, while my oldest, 17 1/2, stays with me so she can focus on her studies and finish up her 11th grade homeschool program, in which she’s rather more than a few weeks behind schedule.

Now situation reversed, I would have planned ahead with the kids and we would have left a secret stash for their Mom that contained cards, a special bar of chocolate or similar, or, worst case, realized our gaffe and mailed cards from Europe back to Colorado. Worst, worst case I would have had them create their own cards, taken photos of them, and emailed them to Mom so she’d have felt the love on Mother’s Day.

You can guess what’s happened, though, can’t you?

A- and I have a great relationship, no question, but she’s a teen and she’s mired in the morass of teen life, perhaps more than most 17yo girls. She was with me when we bought a Father’s Day card for my Dad and she signed it with a very sweet inscription. We mailed that off so that it arrived yesterday as one would hope. So not remembering Father’s Day? Unlikely. Still, all I’ve gotten from her is a cheery “Happy Father’s Day, Dads!” and an invitation for us to go out for dinner. No card, nothing.

When I pointed out to her that I hadn’t heard from anyone in Germany and that it was a drag, she promptly texted her Mom to remind her that it was Father’s Day and that the other children really should check in. Fifteen minutes later, my little one, 10yo, connects and we have a short Skype chat before she and her big sister take over the conversation. Nice, such as it was. But my son? No call, no text, no email, no card, no nothing. At 14yo he should be able to manage this.

I have to say, however, that it’s my ex that I am most upset with in this situation. She’s the adult, she knew exactly what day it was (she’s very good with dates and holidays) and she had ample opportunity in the last few weeks to plan something, anything, to leave behind or send me from the younger children. Or to at least remind my son to spend five minutes calling or emailing me.

As Father’s Days go, this is unfortunately rather typical for me as a single dad.

I think this is actually somewhat of a zen moment in my life — again — when I get to let go of the desire, of the expectation, and just be happy with what is.

To shake up the rather heavy energy of the day, to make that proverbial lemonade out of a bushel of lemons, A- and I are going out for dinner and a movie tonight. Dinner at Whole Foods Market (since she basically won’t eat at restaurants any more) then Godzilla at the local theater. She’s splendid company, so I know it will be fun.

And as for my Dad? Happy Father’s Day, Dad! Love ya. And I remember to send cards too. 🙂

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