on father’s day

Yesterday was the second Father’s Day I’ve spent without my dad. In some way, without that familiar stamp of “the first ___ without him”, the string of “seconds” has felt a little strange.

Despite the weight of the day, I felt little urge to write about it. I love my dad, and I loved celebrating what a wonderful dad he was (and continues to be). But I remember very little of the more scripted holidays, so the weight I carry on these days is largely a hollow one.

Thankfully, my friend Kate wrote an incredibly poignant piece about this very subject. Her post touches on often incommunicable aspects of grief, and I’m so grateful she’s shared it, especially on a day when words escaped me. So, for today, I’ll share her words instead.

You can read the whole post here; I’m including a particularly resonant passage below.

“Even though all of us experience it, death sets you apart from people. I can’t mention my father without weight anymore. He’ll never escape that label, no more so than he could escape the label of father once I was born. Sometimes I wonder if, with death, parents pass the weight of parenthood on to their children, newly defined as parentless.

[…]

But for next year, I say: go on — take your dad for granted. I give you permission to do nothing special for him, to treat him exactly like you always have. I’d like a day when my dad’s status as a father wasn’t loaded with meaning. It’s the biggest luxury you can have.”

As sad as it may seem, I read this last bit with a smile. Because as my dad always said, it’s those moments of boredom, those moments of nothing special that we spend with one another, that are the most valuable of all. And that’s probably why I remember watching Giants games with him on lazy summer days far more than that 3rd Sunday every June that we call Father’s Day. So, as I’ve mentioned earlier, here’s to celebrating those moments that hold true meaning — be it June 19th, or that random Tuesday you got an ice cream cone just for kicks.

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