Father’s Day Is Family Day
by Jay Fadden
This past weekend was a celebration of fathers. In all honesty, I did not know it was Father’s Day this weekend until the Friday before when someone told me. I would always remember the date before because of my own dad, but since he passed away last November, the day was not the same to me at all. I am not one to celebrate days for myself. I have never been a big birthday or Father’s Day guy. So on Saturday, my thoughts were more about this being the first Father’s Day without my dad than a day dedicated to all fathers. That meant I was really not looking forward to the day.
Sunday morning arrived, and as usual, my family went to the 7:30 Mass where Ethan was an altar server. I love watching Ethan serve the Mass. He is very dedicated and has so much fun. After Mass, we went out to breakfast, where it was crowded and loud. We still had a great time as stories were shared and we just enjoyed each other’s company. But still, I was really just going through the motions. After breakfast, of which I ate way too much, I went to my parents’ grave, said a prayer for my mom and dad, and headed home.
When I entered my house, it was abuzz with activity. Shirley was cooking and the kids were running in different directions with big smiles on their faces. I was told to go upstairs and just relax. It was not a request, but a demand. I could hear my family downstairs laughing and talking and planning. Every once in a while, I would hear one of them try to quiet the others down, and then they would all laugh. They were having a blast. Well, who was I to complain? I kicked off my shoes and lay in bed and watched some television.
About 3pm, Ethan and I went to his travel basketball game, which I was going to coach. It was a close and exciting game. We lost! Unfortunately, I am not a good loser, and it usually puts me in a sour mood. As we drove home, Ethan had a smirk on his face. Something was up. I would look in the rearview mirror and I could see that Ethan was looking at me. He would avert my look and just shake his head with that smirk.
We got home, and my family had set up a wonderful dinner outside on the porch. This was not just any dinner. We had steak and scallops along with corn, asparagus, and fresh fruit, all of my favorites. For the next hour, we laughed and talked and just had fun. Each of my children gave me a present along with a hand drawn card, and Shirley presented me with Pokémon pajamas. They were bright yellow with a hood that had eyes and ears on it, along with a tail. It was quite the attention grabber. They asked me to put it on and howled when I appeared in the doorway in all my pajama glory. I bowed my head and smiled too.
What a perfect day. It hit me then that Father’s Day is so much more than a celebration of a father. It is a celebration of the entire family. It is an opportunity to be together and laugh, to say that you love each other. In a sense, I was selfish in not understanding that it was not really about me, but about my family—about them telling me that they love me because they know how much I love them. It turned out to be a wonderful day. I even walked around the neighborhood in that outrageous outfit and played Pokémon. It may have seemed crazy to those who drove by or to my neighbors, but to my family, it was a fun day we will never forget. I will never feel the same about Father’s Day again, because it is now family day to me. I would like to hear about your experiences with Father’s Day and look forward to any comments you may make.