Surviving Father’s Day

Well, it’s Father’s Day. If you are a non-dad who wishes you had children and finds this holiday painful, I hope you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. If you have a living father or grandfather, honoring him will help take the pressure off of yourself. Otherwise, as I advise the women on Mother’s Day, get thee far from all media until the day is over. Of course, if you’re not living in Pacific time, maybe this advice comes too late. Or maybe not. Tonight’s prime-time TV shows are likely to be Father’s Day oriented.

At church this morning, I watched the men as our pastor asked all men who are fathers or play the role of father in some capacity to bow their heads for a special prayer. Most bowed their heads, but the man across the aisle from me, who is young but walks with great difficulty, stared straight ahead, looking uncomfortable. I could feel his pain. In a world where all the men of a certain age seem to be dads, he’s not. For him, I’ll bet the prayer seemed to last forever.

Father’s Day doesn’t get quite the attention that Mother’s Day gets. It may be a little easier to ignore it, but it still hurts. Go do something you enjoy and forget about it.

If you are a woman who loves someone who would like to be a father but isn’t, be especially kind to him today.

Soon it will be Monday, and we can watch “The Bachelorette” again.

6 thoughts on “Surviving Father’s Day

  1. Ok, so, I had a bit of an epiphany this Father's Day. We had my 4 stepkids for the weekend, and they absolutely showered their dad (and me too – I get to live vicariously through Father's Day b/c the kids see it as an opportunity to celebrate “Dad's House” rather than just “Dad”) with love. They made our breakfast, lunch and dinner. They gave him guns hand-made from toilet paper rolls, and painted pretty cards and pictures. They even got together and made a “We love you, Dad!” video. My hubby got everything I thought I was missing from Mother's Day – but he didn't end the day with the perfect joy I'd always imagined my Mothers Day would have. Rather, he ended up weeping on my shoulder because the day was really stirring up feelings of how he was undeserving of so much praise, and of the broken relationship he'd had with his own father (who is now deceased). He even said to me a couple of times, “I just want this day to be over.”So my epiphany was that, at least in some cases, Father's Day with kids might really be no less painful than Mother's Day without. If all of psychoanalysis says that we're always looking for something more than what we are capable of attaining in this life, I suppose it is all about perspective.


  2. Professor, thanks for sharing this. It sounds like you have amazing stepkids. But yes, sometimes it's tough, even when you do have children. I remember hearing my mother cry in her bedroom at the end of almost every holiday. She was worn out and it was never quite what she had dreamed of.


  3. I wish everyday that my wife could have children. All my friends have children. Both my brothers have large families. Its painful everyday, not just fathers day.


  4. I wish every day that my wife could have children. All of my friends have kids. My brothers have large families. It is every day I feel pain from this. When I see a father and son having fun together, or a little girl holding on to her daddy as if life itself was at stake… Some days it drives me to tears. It is every day, not just Fathers Day. I will have no legacy. And it hurts my heart.


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