On Father’s and filters… Father’s Day in the 21st century

Once upon a time in a world that no longer exists, holidays were days where we put on our happy faces and pretended all was well in the spirit of celebration. Of course now, in this brave new world of no filters, we no longer have to pretend that anything is fine because as we have evolved it has become socially acceptable to not only wear our pain but to share it with any and all. As someone who believes that holding in bad feelings is far more toxic than letting them out, I think this is healthy except when our need to share our feelings starts to stomp on everyone else’s feet. This brings us to today…Father’s Day.

Back in the early 20th century, Father’s Day was created as a compliment to Mother’s Day; a day to celebrate fatherhood and male parenting.  Of course, the families of the 21st century no longer look much like the 20th century which means that days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are now loaded minefields where one wrong word can create a spiral of angst depending on where you sit.

Of course the funny thing is that while Mother’s Day has moved into the 21st century relatively unscathed by change, Father’s Day has been turned on its head. In many families mom wears all the hats including the Dad hat. For some men, they choose to create life but for whatever reason choose not to play the continuous role of dad.

Thanks to this brave new world though where once we didn’t have the privilege of sharing how we feel, we can now share and share to our hearts content and this is where in my two cent opinion it starts to get ugly. Facebook for better or worse is our 21st century town square and the place where we go to let it all hang out. The good, the bad, the ugly and the oh my…did you really just say that?

This morning as I sipped my coffee and took a walk through the town square, I saw various proclamations about real dads, not so real dads, moms who are dads and so on. Having had my own contentious relationship for years with my  Dad, I get it. Yet the idea of pissing all over someone else because of my own bad feelings never crossed my mind. While we are all entitled to our own beliefs and feelings, do those feelings give us the right to mistreat others? To lambast others for their feelings?   Families are messy; rarely does anyone’s real life family resemble the media images of family that are rammed down our throats. Family is complicated, only in a family can you have people you love, yet you can hate them at the same time and hate with a ferociousness that borders on the unspeakable. Very few of us exist in families without some type of conflict and days like today just bring all that ugliness to the surface and to paraphrase Jill Scott, it erupts like bowels after collard greens.

Yet at the end of the day, we ultimately have a choice. If certain days bring up ugliness and we don’t think we can control it, why not opt out? Why create more space for the ugliness to fester? If dealing with family is too much, you can choose not to go through the motions at all. Honor yourself and your needs, this is your divine right.  If days like today are triggering, adjust the filter and take and give only what you can and strive to do no harm…to yourself or anyone else.

 

 

 

 

Reflections on Papa

My Papa, along with ,my brother and dearly departed Granny

This was originally posted on June 21, 2009 and pretty much captures my feelings on Father’s day.

Its Father’s Day, a day that frankly IMO gets not nearly enough fanfare compared to Mother’s Day. Of course we live in a world where sadly fathers are sometimes not around and Mama plays the role of both Mama and Papa.

I always thought my Dad would die first, but fate being what it is, it was my Mom that passed away first leaving me with just my Dad. In the five years since my Mom’s passing I have gotten to know my Dad a lot better than I did when my Mom was alive. My brother and I have a tenuous relationship with my Dad, he is a man who tries but the best way to sum up my Dad is to say see the movie About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson’s character is very much like my father….awkward to say the least.

That said, on Father’s Day I am thankful for my Pops. A man who tries the best he can though he is limited, maybe its because I am a parent and I have made a lot of mistakes as a parent that I can still love and now accept my dad for who he is, though its been a hard journey. In the early years after my Mom’s death, I wanted him to fill the void left by my Mom but it was not to be….now I accept him for who he is and most days life works better.

On Papa’s Day, I also look at my husband who often feels substandard as a father because he is not the greatest financial provider though when he leaves this early realm I am sure our kids will care less about how little money had and more about the fact that he was always there for them.

My husband has been in my son’s life since elder boy was three and has an amazing relationship with the Spousal Unit despite the fact there is no biological connection. So my son is doubly blessed to have not only his biological father but an amazing step father who has never made any difference in how he treats out two kids.  For our daughter he has always been an amazing and patient man who if nothing else deserves a metal for his willingness to embrace shit duty when the girl child was still in diapers (I hate changing diapers) and even now when she needs help wiping her behind after a bowel movement.

So to the men in my life and that includes the former Spousal Unit…Happy Father’s Day. To all Papas I hope you are having a great day!

Reflections on Papa

This was originally posted on June 21, 2009 and pretty much captures my feelings on Father’s day.

Its Father’s Day, a day that frankly IMO gets not nearly enough fanfare compared to Mother’s Day. Of course we live in a world where sadly fathers are sometimes not around and Mama plays the role of both Mama and Papa.

I always thought my Dad would die first, but fate being what it is, it was my Mom that passed away first leaving me with just my Dad. In the five years since my Mom’s passing I have gotten to know my Dad a lot better than I did when my Mom was alive. My brother and I have a tenuous relationship with my Dad, he is a man who tries but the best way to sum up my Dad is to say see the movie About Schmidt. Jack Nicholson’s character is very much like my father….awkward to say the least.

That said, on Father’s Day I am thankful for my Pops. A man who tries the best he can though he is limited, maybe its because I am a parent and I have made a lot of mistakes as a parent that I can still love and now accept my dad for who he is, though its been a hard journey. In the early years after my Mom’s death, I wanted him to fill the void left by my Mom but it was not to be….now I accept him for who he is and most days life works better.

On Papa’s Day, I also look at my husband who often feels substandard as a father because he is not the greatest financial provider though when he leaves this early realm I am sure our kids will care less about how little money had and more about the fact that he was always there for them.

My husband has been in my son’s life since elder boy was three and has an amazing relationship with the Spousal Unit despite the fact there is no biological connection. So my son is doubly blessed to have not only his biological father but an amazing step father who has never made any difference in how he treats out two kids.  For our daughter he has always been an amazing and patient man who if nothing else deserves a metal for his willingness to embrace shit duty when the girl child was still in diapers (I hate changing diapers) and even now when she needs help wiping her behind after a bowel movement.

So to the men in my life and that includes the former Spousal Unit…Happy Father’s Day. To all Papas I hope you are having a great day!