Celebrating Fathers Day has always been full of mixed emotions. As a child it is not a day I remember celebrating. My father wasn’t around much and my poppy was very much of the ilk that Fathers Day was something invented by the Yanks as a way of conning us out of our hard-earned cash.
Even though I now have a relationship with my father, this day does not automatically fill me with the need to buy cards, send gifts and acknowledge him for the wonderful things he taught me. I don’t really have any fond memories of my father as a child, most of those memories involve tears, and sadly the majority of things I learned was how not to be, however in saying that, I am grateful for the part he played in giving me life, I love knowing where my strange sense of humour comes from, my love of art and more than anything I love seeing the obvious connection we have genetically, something that was never obvious on my mother’s side of the family so I do try to make an effort and acknowledge him in some way even if it is just a call.
One of the problems for me expressing myself on Fathers Day is the wording on the cards available, especially as they are generally sweet messages reminiscing about the good old days and the ways in which our Father’s where there for us, helping to shape our future, none of which seems relevant to me or if the card is somewhat appropriate I can not honestly say the words with meaning.
In contrast to this I have a Step Father who is a wonderful father and someone I love and admire very much. He has never made any differences between me and his own biological children and I always know that he is there to help me if I need it, when planning for Fathers Day he is the person I think of celebrating with, however I still struggle to find the right card. Most Fathers Day cards assume a long history between child and father and this is not always the case, because my stepfather entered my life as a late teen I find the majority of phrasing not suitable and there really are not many cards that say what I want to say. While I tell other people I’m off to see my Dad I don’t actually call him Dad and there aren’t many or in fact any cards that say To the Man I consider my Dad even though I have seen these cards at Mothers Day.
Thirdly there is my husband who rightly or wrongly doesn’t always live up to my image of the perfect Dad either. He certainly loves his children but he is not much of a hands on father. He is the type of dad who works to put a roof over their heads and food on the table and earns money so that they can do extra activities like swimming and karate. He is the best father that he can be and because of that deserves to be acknowledged for his efforts but while the I Love You Daddy cards work for the Munchkin, Zee knows only to well that his dad is not the sentimental type and well, quite frankly the words that include kicking footies or fishing or being best mates do not apply.
Ultimately I make my own cards and we say whatever seems appropriate at the time, these are always received well and it is something I enjoy doing but it got me thinking that surely we are not the only family looking for similar type cards. Many people have step dads, or foster dads or fathers that simply are not touchy feelie yet they still want to acknowledge them on Fathers Day.
Maybe there really is a market for cards that say Dear Sperm Donor, thanks for getting there first or Dear Dad, you’re a Grumpy Old bastard but we love you anyway. Or cards that acknowledge non biological dads. You’ve been like a Dad to me or To my Step dad, thanks for accepting my mum came as a package deal.
I may not be getting a job at Hallmark anytime soon but I do believe that there needs to be more of a range of the type of cards available. Fathers Day to me is about honouring dads of all types but it doesn’t meant that the sentiments have to be cheesy ones or full of false sentiment either. Often all you simply need to say is Thanks, and I love you.
Maybe I am the only one who thinks this way? what do you think?