Last year, on Mother's Day, as I was filling in for a local Patch editor, I wrote a sweet note to Moms everywhere.
This was in my mind--a lot--as I thought about what to write for Father's Day this year. Would it be well received if I made some personal, semi-sappy remarks about Father's Day?
I thought about what we consider boring, and it occured to me--really, isn't the boring, the mundane, the everyday, that makes a great Father?
I thought of when I was just a sprite, and the youngest of five very active children. My Dad would frequently come and sit on the edge of my bed at bedtime and rub my head to put me to sleep. To be honest, the head rubbing didn't put me to sleep, because I could hear it, in a mildly annoying way, inside my head, like a cat scratching. (By the way, until today I never told him this, but now I guess the proverbial cat scratching is out of the bag. That's okay.)
It's ok, because I didn't care.
My Dad spent that special time, just with me, and I never wanted him to stop rubbing my head. Exciting? No, but it made me feel special and singled out for my Dad's love for a few minutes, and no one else got that special attention.
Then, one time, my Dad took me on a cross-country trip, via Greyhound, from Spokane, to visit his family in Boston (remember the AmeriPass, '80s children?). In a display of solidarity with my Dad, I started drinking coffee (with lots of milk!) at all the dives along the route on that trip. My Dad and I really bonded over roadhouse coffee. He was impressed that I could drink that mud; I was impressed that he could stand patiently and wait while I tried on Guess jeans at Filene's Basement in Boston.
Boring? Not to me it wasn't. I learned more about my father's youth and upbringing in two weeks cross country than I'd ever known, and my three pesky brothers were no where near to spoil those special caffeinated moments and impromptu subway lessons.
Nowadays, the medium has changed somewhat. I see my uncles and other relatives and friends proudly relay their children's sports accomplishments (from first rolling over unassisted to making Varsity) on Facebook, and remember my own father's commitment to going to my brothers' football games--and giving me pocket change to buy licorice to keep me occupied on cold fall game days.
Earth shattering? Not at all.
But Dads are still there, and still proud. I know I'm not alone in thinking the Modern Father is awesome. Dads all over our area are going camping, following sports, joining with Cub Scouts or Campfire, or otherwise giving their children that sense of security, and love, that we all need to be productive adults. It's not brain surgery, it's not often exciting, but doing the everyday, every day, is what makes fatherhood so worth honoring at least once a year.
Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Tom Mahoney! It's that boring, normal, being there every day for your kids stuff that makes you so totally, lifelong, awesome. And I'm so glad my children have an equally awesome Dad, too. Happy Father's Day, one and all.
(As a little side note, Father's Day originated in my hometown of Spokane, first thought of by Sonora Smart Dodd, who's Father raised her after the death of her Mother. You can learn more about the origins of the holiday here.)