There are things in life that bring us great comfort whether we realize it or not. When these opportunities are suddenly unavailable to us, only then can we measure just how significant and meaningful those traditions genuinely are. Such is the case with me and Father’s Day.
It was always one of those days where I could show the kids how to stop and celebrate their dad for all he’s done and been to them.
Now that my life has so drastically changed — my kids are teens and their parents divorced — Father’s Day for a single mom has this way of making me simultaneously happy and sad.
Father’s Day was different when I was a married woman. I ensured the kids were on their best behavior. I asked my husband what he wanted to do for “his” day, and made a nice dinner.
Now, it makes me happy that my three kids have maintained the excellent relationship they’ve always had with their dad. I am glad because it validates my decision even more that I chose the right person to father my children. Although we are no longer married, we were meant to reproduce, and it is comforting to still feel that way. Just because we no longer work as a married couple, that takes nothing away from the kind of father he is.
But Father’s Day for a single mom also makes me sad. Like any major holiday, it’s a reminder of what we used to do, and what we don’t anymore.
I can’t help but remember sunny June days of the past spent at the beach. Or the years I’d make his favorite pie a few days ahead of time while helping the kids make a card and coupons for him. I even miss those times we’d try to go to lunch when our kids were small. We’d walk into a restaurant thinking it was going to be a great bonding experience, yet we’d end up leaving as fast as we could finish our food. We would be irritable, exhausted, and wonder why we even dared to attempt it.
I still believe in taking part in this celebration with my kids, especially since they are old enough to put more effort into the day than they could when they were younger.
What was once a family day that we all looked forward to is now an opportunity for me to remind them to make sure they celebrate their father. In whatever way he asks.
I still want them to see I care enough about their dad to make sure he enjoys his special day.
But it is rewarding that they now are old enough to take control themselves, and they always come up with some great ideas on their own. They know their dad loves to play golf and that he has a weakness for Twix candy bars. They know how much he loves a big bacon and egg breakfast and enjoys specialty coffees.
Even though we don’t all live under the same roof any longer, he is their father, always. And seeing them appreciate him as teens is pretty special for me to witness, regardless of our relationship as a couple.
There are times when I feel sad and nostalgic for our old life even though I realize I am not meant to be married to him. And there are moments our kids wish we were still married, even though they’ve seen with their own eyes that life is better for the both of us since we’ve parted ways.
I guess you could say that I’m taking part in Father’s Day in little ways. By taking them out shopping and reminding them to bring their best for their dad. This is my way of showing the rest of the world that we are still a family — we just look a little different now.
And that’s a gift for all of us.