Sunday, June 19, 2011

Papa Don't Preach

The first modern celebration of a "Father's Day" was held on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South.  Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father who died in a mining disaster along with 361 men, 250 of them fathers, leaving around a thousand fatherless children.  Clayton suggested her pastor honor all those fathers and was thought to be influenced by the first Mother's Day just two months prior.

On this day, I would like to celebrate all the men who "father".  Whether by biology or adoption, being the father, grandfather, uncle, stepfather, or dear family friend.

The bond between a child and the men in their life is sometimes made less important to the mother-child relationship, but it is just as essential.

My son has an amazing father who dedicated himself to being the dad he did not have.  While one can wax on about marriage difficulties, I have watched my husband open his heart to our son when that was non-existent for him.  My husband has frequently noted that he has said, "I love you" to our son more times in 11 years than he ever heard in his entire life from his father.

At this juncture in my man-child's life, being with his dad is preferred.  I have to put my faith in something as the two of them find their way through this emotional time.  I have to trust that they will continue to enrich each others life; that they keep sharing the deepest parts of themselves with one other, and through the inarticulated male-code, that they will deepen the bonds of love and respect.

I, in turn, will celebrate my father today as well.  I can sum it up in one sentence, he is the best father a girl can have.


by: Lewis Carroll

"You are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"

"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."

"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?"

"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his gray locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling the box --
Allow me to sell you a couple?"

"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"

"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw
Has lasted the rest of my life."

"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?"

"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down-stairs!" 
The Hunting of the Snark and Other Poems and Verses. (1903)
Happy Father's Day!

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