Sunday, June 20, 2010

Benevolent Patriarch's Celebration

Today, Sunday June 20th, is Father's Day. This holiday is apparent by Hallmark cards, a rise in tie sales, everyone leaving Troy to be with family, and the Google logo being spelled out in ties on the website. I was not originally intending to blog about Father's Day but due to the fact that I have not published a post since Wednesday, and today happens to be that holiday, I figured why not. The topic post is also due to the fact that I just rolled out of bed, don't access to coffee just yet and didn't want to have to fire up the cerebral pistons just yet.

Father's Day as a holiday always gets placed into a secondary category as holidays go in my mind. Mother's Day gets all the attention in May, especially in my house where my Mom's birthday is May 11th, and Father's Day almost seems like a fill in, or something to tie people over until the huge festivities of the 4th of July in America. Maybe Father's Day then receives more credit and merit in other countries due to the absence of this celebration of independence, but honestly I wouldn't know. Father's Day was not actually recognized as a national holiday in the United States until 1972, whereas Mother's Day was sanctioned as a national holiday in 1914. That's a 52 year difference folks.

Why was there such a long disconnect in recognition?

Sources online speculate that the eclipse of Father's Day by Mother's Day is due to the higher number of families raised by single mothers in modern time, or the role of mothers in unpaid household labor. I personally would hypothesize that a lot of the under-celebrating of Father's Day is due to societal beliefs of how a family unit should operate. Since the 1950s, dads have been granted the "father knows best" ideology. Father is the ruler of his kingdom, or the household, and as a ruler oversees order and success but is not required with the micromanaging necessary. Busy work gets taken care of by Mother. While Father might do a lot at a job, or outside of the home, this effort is sometimes harder to discern, whereas Mother's efforts are in plain view. Thus, Mother gets a day of praise in the form of flowers, greeting cards, and brunch. Then it's back to work the next day.

I do have to confess that I am one of those people who doesn't give a lot of credit to Father's Day. I call my Dad on the holiday, I send him a card every year, and when I'm at home the traditional gift involves a tie or book and me making a cholesterol filled breakfast, contrary to doctor's orders. Over the years this just seemed to be the amount of effort needed, no more no less, however, as I grew up that idea changed. For a long period of time, I didn't see much of a point apart from celebrating the person who paid for things. I have not always had the best relationship with my Dad, and it's a bit hard attempting to become friends again after eight years of discomfort and a lack of trust. It's even harder to strike up a conversation with a man who you don't talk to for more than five minutes when you are 3,000 miles apart.

Why am I writing about Father's Day then if I'm not the biggest fan of the holiday or the person that I should be celebrating? If you know me personally, I am a black and white cookie. Tastes great, but very different on a lot of issues, as I oscillate wildly from being a horrible cynic to a dewy-eyed optimist. Father's Day is a holiday I'd like to move into the dewy-eyed region. I'd like to have a relationship again with my Dad, and not just a working one, but one where I can sit down and ask about cars. One where I can talk about guys and not feel the righteous hand of God falling down upon me in Catholic guilt. One where we can have a conversation that doesn't happen behind a HIMYM or Two and Half Men episode.

So, with this opening confession in mind and sappy future intentions, Happy Father's Day Dad. I'm pretty sure you don't read my blog, and I have no idea if Mom told you about it at all, but you will be getting a call later today.


P.S. To the rest of the readers, this song has been dancing around my head for the past two days and I wanted to pass it on.!

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