It has been pretty great to see all of the love for dads on social media. Yes, these various “Days” are essentially inventions of the greeting card industry, but I don’t know that it is a bad thing to have a day of recognition for those meaningful people in our lives.
Or maybe I am biased because this is my first year as a father.
That said, I saw a Tweet that reflected to me the other side of this celebratory day:
Its author told me that as a bartender, he sees many more of these folks than anyone else on Fathers Day.
In some ways, particularly with the proliferation of social media, Fathers Day can be something of a trigger for those who have had less than ideal (or absolutely devastating) relationships with their fathers. Dad was a drunk, he was abusive, he left altogether, and now here is a day where positive Tweets and positive status updates shove what feels like an alien and out-of-touch reality into your digital existence.
And so this one this one is for y’all (unless, of course, you’re sober and in that case I am sure that bourbon can be substituted with another guilty pleasure):
I was eventually afforded the great fortune of having the opportunity to get close to my father. He was never all that great at being a dad, really, but he was a good guy and when he got sick, I was able to take care of him until he died. I got to know him as a person—to better understand his strengths and his weaknesses—and to understand him in that context. I understand that the ability to do this is unattainable for many, and so I do not take this luxury for granted.
And now I am a father, and I try to learn from my own dad’s successes and his failures. I work to value the experiences of my friends who weren’t afforded the aforementioned luxury, and to work all of this into my own aspiration to be a solid father. With the help of my wife and communities of dads who are also working to be better, stronger, and more emotionally available than our own fathers seemed able to be, I work every day to achieve this goal.
So again, if you’ve got a good one, call him up, buy him a drink, and tell him you love him. If you have one of those shitty ones, you certainly are not alone. Treat yourself right today; you certainly deserve it.