Father’s Day is a fantastic time of year. Usually, in northern Illinois, the weather is great. It’s not quite to the full heat of summer, but it’s warm enough that outdoor activities are easy to enjoy. Usually, mid-June serves as a break between the heavy spring rains and the turbulent summer storms. Father’s Day is also a time to cherish the dads in the world who have spent a great deal of time, effort, and enthusiasm on the children in their lives. It’s a time to uphold fathers and thank them for all the work they do in the world.
Father’s Day is always a bittersweet time for me. It’s a great chance to reminisce. It’s a fantastic time to show my stepfather how much I appreciate everything he’s done for me over the years. At the same time, it’s a moment of sadness. While I feel incredibly blessed to have had two dominant father figures within my family throughout my life, there’s still some pain left from the loss of my father in 2002. In fact, there’s probably a lot of unresolved feelings.
This year, Father’s Day is a bit more somber than usual. A quick look at the calendar shows that it falls on June 19. Coincidentally, that is the 9th anniversary of my Daddy’s passing. To compound the feeling of loss, it falls only days after my arrival in California. Normally, this would be a day I spent in reflection surrounded by my family. Ordinarily, I’d spend the morning celebrating with my stepdad and make a trip to the cemetery sometime in the afternoon. I won’t be doing any of those things this year. In fact, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.
There’s a lesson in all of this, though. There’s a valuable takeaway from the heartache. I have to learn the value of enjoying the life I have. I have to hold onto the pieces of life as I know it, and enjoy them for all they are worth. Not only is it necessary to survival, but I also know that Daddy would not want any daughter of his living in the past. Remembering is one thing. Wallowing is another.
I have a lot of complicated feelings about my dad. However, I know that because of his role in my life, I’m a stronger and more individualized person.
Having said all of that, it’s up to me to try and make the most of that complicated day. I’ll give my stepfather a call to wish him a good day. I’ll send a text to the dads in my life that I appreciate. I’ll hopefully spend the day doing something I enjoy in a new and exciting place. Why? Because that’s the sort of person I am, and it’s what Daddy would want.