A companion piece to my article, I Won't Celebrate Mother's Day.
Father’s Day. I won’t celebrate this holiday. But it’s because of me this time. I need you, my people - believers - in my faith community, to understand.
Oh, I suppose there are years I could celebrate. When I am remembering the positives about my dad. The land we both grew up on and shared a love for. The snuggles on the couch as we watched TV. Trips to Pizza Hut where he always ordered a thin crust hamburger pizza. His big, fun family who were such a huge part of my childhood. Walking down the aisle with him at my wedding. The most precious memory. My whole life I wondered if it would happen. Until that day.
But then there are years I just can’t do it. Like the year he died tragically, unexpectedly, two months before Father’s Day. When my grieving still left me raw. That day I wanted to escape all alone into a good fiction book and forget there was even a Hallmark holiday bearing the name Father. That day, I was so angry at him for giving up on life too soon.
I know people who didn’t have a dad growing up. Mine stayed around. For that I am thankful.
Still, some years, I remember the hard parts. The times I looked for him at school plays and graduations. But most events I didn’t see him. At the funeral for his mom. My grandma. When grief struck him too hard to share it. He didn’t get there until the last few minutes at her graveside. There were nights growing up when he didn’t come home at all. Then other times when he’d been out and did show up in the wee hours, he’d awake us with yelling and carrying on.
The dad who wouldn’t go to church with us, save once when I was well in my 20’s. As a last ditch effort to reconcile our family after it all unraveled. The biggest part of my life. My faith. And we never got to share it.
I loved my father. Writing about him challenges me because negative words on paper hint of betrayal. And I love my father. My namesake. Defending him to the grave with a fierce loyalty.
So, instead, if I am to celebrate this Father’s Day at all, with any hint of joy and consistency, I have to look at Father’s Day through a new set of lenses.
To the father of my daughter. I know their relationship will have its own dynamics, good and bad. But he is always there. So “there” we take it for granted. Our Mr. Reliable. Hard working and appreciative of his family.
To Ryan. For the times you wrestle Allie, because she’s asked you to a hundred times. For your patience in explaining this world to our daughter. Sharing your sound logic with her. Teaching her about how all things work. You’ll never know the impact you have on her just because you choose to always show up.
To my Heavenly Father. Because Father’s Day does, after all, fall on a Sunday. The Lord’s Day.
All of the imperfections I found in my earthly daddy pointed me to the perfect Father who created me. The One who loves me completely. Who, in His omnipresence, is always, always there.
If I could point to one lesson I have learned from all my experiences with fathers, it would be that life offers grace.
Grace. To love a daddy who loved me right back. Who stayed around but was often absent.
Grace. To my husband, who constantly has to balance his roles at work, at home; as husband, as father.
Grace. From a Heavenly Father who offers it always without any conditions.
I’ll celebrate Father’s Day with you. But grace will have to be my focus. The grace to take what each relationship has to offer. And a trust that God will use it for His glory.