Sunday, June 16, 2019

Father’s Day 2019

Today is Father’s Day.

Which is fraught for some of us.

And at this point in my life, I have a lot of friends who are dads—incredible fathers—who are simultaneously being feted and missing their dads today. I want to hug all of them. I’m thinking of Matt, of Chris (and Laura—not a dad, but missing one nonetheless), with new loss.

Fresh loss hurts the most.

Older loss still hurts, and sometimes just as much in random moments, but for me it’s more like a scratchy sweater that a loved one knitted. It’s maybe never been soft and cozy but you loved the giver and at some point you’re used to and even sometimes comfortable wearing it, even though that sounds unlikely. It’s familiar, and you know a lot about it, and you’re almost even old friends. Sometimes. I can’t lie: I miss my dad extra today.

Holidays like this, where the focus of your loss is mentioned everywhere, are extra hard.

So to this I say, I want to celebrate Nick for being the great dad that he is.

He’s loving and kind and demonstrative. He tells our kids he loves them and hugs them a lot, which is not his family’s culture. He revels in their triumphs. He tells them he’s proud of them. He works to be a partner to me in parenting. It’s not equal, but it’s closer to equal than what either of us grew up with.

And on the same day, I miss my own dad, who’d be a terrific, loving, fun grandpa to my kids.

I’ve recently gotten my children involved in my preparations for my Our of the Darkness Overnight walk. 

India refers to suicide as “sumocide”—thus giving me the imagine of large Japanese men in loincloths hurling themselves at each other with intent to crush to death. Which is not great but that’s the truth.

In any case, the other night she got weepy and said she wished she’d gotten to meet him and asked if Jordan had. And then I had to fight tears and say no, he hadn’t either.

 And days like today are harder because they underline who you don’t have. But it’s also true that we celebrate who we do have, and my kids are lucky to have Nick as a dad. And today we celebrate his Uncle Peter’s 80th birthday, which is a milestone to celebrate.

To all the dads, I celebrate you. To all those missing dads, I see you and I feel you.

Happy Father’s Day.

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