Tomorrow is Father’s Day and across the United States, family groups will be gathering for barbecues or picnics; some restaurants are featuring special menus — not as many as for Mother’s Day, but some. Lowe’s and Home Depot have been running ads (disparaging ties and lauding power drills) during sporting events for the past two or three weeks. As has become American habit, we will throw money, gift boxes, and alcohol at the issue and consider it a celebration.
It is my firm belief that the fathers among us deserve better than that, and my guess is that a sizable minority of us wish that we could do Father’s Day a little differently…that we could (maybe still can sometime during the day) get over our awkwardness about saying the important things to the men who shape our lives. And I speak not only of the men who give us our DNA, but the men who teach our spirits, who inspire our careers, who model tenderness and strength, who put on band-aids or sing us to sleep, who parent our (shared) children (special thanks to my daughter’s father, an extraordinary man). I’m talking about the men who lead our school choirs or our soccer teams, and the men who teach us the difference between a rose and a peony (or a pinot grigio and a chardonnay, or a bechamel and an alfredo sauce), the men who teach us to ski and the men who teach us to dance.
Perhaps I am more sensitive about this than many folks because, by coincidence, tomorrow is also my father’s 86th birthday. He is the last living of my daughter’s grand-parents — so he is particularly precious to our extended family (on both sides), the corporate memory and channel to a history before my birth (as the eldest) when he was only 23. With people living to 112 these days, I may still have him for a decade or more, but I am very aware of our human mortality and aware that every moment is priceless.
So: I would like to express my deep gratitude for the man whose act of love gave me life itself…and who is the human being who has known me longer than any other alive. And who has loved me through colic, and measles, and adolescence, and a marriage and divorce, and depression, and an ever-evolving series of vocations, and a second marriage, and some serious disagreements about politics, and several oceans of tears.
But I also want to express gratitude for the men who
* were gentle and patient with my childhood crushes…and the men who fell in love with me — for a few days or a few months or for 30 years,
* taught me the joy of acting and pushed me to dig deep into my heart to discover parts of myself I would otherwise have ignored or denied,
* wrote the books that inspired my dreams,
* urged me to trust my voice in the pulpit and to preach fearlessly (there are no words to express how much The Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes has influenced the last 30 years of my life –),
* coached me through labor and laid our daughter in my arms for the first time,
* showed me how to count a cribbage hand, build a compost heap, change a tire, make risotto, dance a strathspey, take a blood pressure reading, and find the north star.
I hope this Father’s Day is rich in memories for each of you…and I hope you find the time and the courage to share those memories with the men who were and are part of them. The world is a better place in every way when we take the time to tell someone that something they said or did changed our life.
Pie Photo © 2013, Immram Chara, LLC
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
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