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Fathers and Fathers' Day
Yesterday, the 4th September, traditionally the first Sunday in September, Fathers’ Day was celebrated here in Australia. According to Wikipedia the Online Dictionary, Fathers’ Day is a ‘day of celebration which honours fatherhood, paternal bonds and the influence of fathers in society.’
Fathers’ day has been with us since the early part of the twentieth century, with credit going to two American women, who just two years apart instigated a celebration to 'honour' fathers. The very first Fathers’ Day was celebrated in 1908 in Fairmont West Virginia. A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in America in 1913, and later in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson wanted to make it official, however Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.
· Taken from Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father's_Day
Now for me the operative word here is ‘Commercialised’. I have spent weeks seeing huge advertisements urging people to ‘Buy for Dad’; to remember ‘Fathers’ day’, and the shops and stores have been overflowing with good and cards galore.
Do I sound cynical? Yes, probably I do, and why one could ask would that be.
A few days ago I read a post on my Facebook news feed from a young ‘niece’ commenting that ‘it took more than fathering a child to be a father’, and I heartily agree with her sentiments.
My own father, a talented and respected Health care professional chose his marriage vows to our mother over contact with some of his daughters for more than twenty years. Tom [our father ]had been cremated for some days before three of the four of his ‘daughters’ were made aware that he had even passed away. Did my sister contact any of her siblings? My mother her daughters? We ‘found out’ from a comment made to my sister during a telephone conversation with an acquaintance of hers that 'she was sorry to hear about Tom'.
My own children, perhaps following the pattern set by their mother, have absentee fathers. Absent for some 40 and 33 years respectively. Not a birthday or Christmas wish, and definitely a dearth of any financial support of any kind.
Yet these children were loved, cared for and respected by two wonderful men.
John Kennedy, who became ‘Dad’ to five children not his own and who although now passed away for more than twenty years now is still the only ‘Dad’ my children recognise.
And Ken Maynard, Rocky to my children, and ‘RockyPa’ to my grandchildren, Ken fitted an extra five children in with his own four, becoming a friend, mentor and for my daughter a ‘Dad’.
For me? Well I found ‘Pa’, and with Pa came a bonus in Nana.
Ken Lomax was the father of Leonie, who became my adopted ‘sister’ many years ago. He willingly took on another ‘daughter’ and welcomed me into his family with open arms.
So every day, not just on ‘Fathers’ Day’ I honour these three very special men, two of whom although not with us in the physical walk with us every day and are remembered with love and affection. The third? Well, ‘Fathers’ Day’ wishes were in abundance for him yesterday.