The newspaper featured one story of a UT athlete and his dad and another told of a relationship between a father and son that strengthened through the automobiles they first bought. US Open winner Rory McIlroy greeted his dad on the eighteenth green with a hug and a “happy Father’s Day.” My son Dallas traveled from Chattanooga to spend some time with me, and we shared breakfast with Amy at I-Hop, where tables and booths were filled with dads and their families. Father’s Day is a wonderful day for us guys, but it brings about some serious thoughts.
I also turned the paper to the obituary section. Listed there are dads who’ve passed in the last few days. For their survivors, future Sundays in June will bring about emptiness and sadness. It’s the same for all of us who’ve lost a dad. Ours died in 1965 when Jim and I were thirteen. For the last forty six years, I’ve thought about that man hundreds of time and wondered what might have been if he’d lived to be older than fifty three.
Also in the obituary section are pictures and messages to lost dads. Some families need to express their undying love in form of tributes. The fact is that no accolades can bring back dads who have passed. It’s also true that with each year the pain of loss ebbs just a bit until living without such important people is bearable. Even today, many of us think of our dads and tell them they’re missed and wished they’d been parts of the greatest things in our lives.
Father’s Day is much different from that special day that honors mothers. For one thing, moms deserve a much more serious and grand celebration. They are the glue that holds families together through the roughest of times. The big presents are showered on them, again rightly so. I’ve seen a mother’s job, first as my own mother and then my wife Amy and daughter Lacey performed a grocery list of duties and chores each and every day. I’ve never wanted to swap places. So, making Mother’s Day a bit more extravagant is fine with me.
Dads are happy spending their day home with family. A burger or hotdog on the grill is exquisite cuisine for us, and with just a little luck, we can find a good baseball game to watch until a Sunday afternoon nap swallows us. I put a coat of polish on Dallas’ car before he aimed the vehicle toward a Chattanooga landing. For supper I ate a couple of bologna and cheese sandwiches and washed them down with a refreshing drink. The less fuss made, the happier dads are.
My last thought on this Father’s Day is a reflection. I know what I did as a dad when my children were small. Many of those acts weren’t the best I might have chosen. I regret some things I did, felt, and said. Now I wonder what, if anything, I might do differently if given the chance to have a “do-over.” After much consideration, I admit to myself that I probably would change little. I did the best I could at the time. Because my children are blessed with a wonderful mother and are watched over by a loving God, they’ve turned out to be good, solid, lovable individuals of whom I am proud. They serve as undeniable proof that even my worst parenting didn’t keep them from turning out right.
I am thankful for Father’s Day. I’m also thankful that I’ve been allowed to be around to watch my children grow and become the good folks that they are today. I still miss my dad but thank God that I have memories of him from so many years ago. Today is a time for celebration, not only of dads but also of family. Dads, continue to do the best you can and always give thanks for your blessings.