Jun 23, 2011

Bipolar Fathers Day

There's nothing more intimidating than a blank cheque question like "What do you want to do for Father's Day?" Like whatever I choose defines my priorities and identity, and I'd better like whatever I choose.

My two gut responses were equally strong and opposite. One was to want time alone - take the kids away, let me do some yardwork and nap. Let me take a break from the rewarding but exhausting and never-ending work of being a Father, being a responsible caregiver. The day before I spent the whole day caring for others - kids, chickens, clients, renters, plants, school committee... a day of not being responsible for anyone else would be delicious, but also rather ironic.

The other impulse was that I want to celebrate Fathers Day by doing what I love the most - being a father. Let's build a fort, play without agenda, fall asleep all together at the end of a giggle-fest day. Shed all other worldly worries and dastardly distractions and just be in the full-on Papa mode that feeds my soul and lets me shine.

In the end I did a lot of both. While Sarah took the boys to Quaker meeting I stayed home and did a fun task I'd been wanting for ages - re-stacked all the firewood in the woodshed. A task that's been too low on the priority list to get done, but that made me feel great. Fiddled on some of the rental cabin reno tasks and some other tasks with no pressure, just enjoying Doing. And also enjoyed plenty of playtime with the family, and let them Treat me to fantastic meals.

The highlight was the feverish 3 hour creativity session where the boys would not let me into the house. They sewed bean-bag juggling balls for me, and were just bursting with happiness to surprise their papa with something home-made. Guess that's the answer to this question of what I want for Fathers Day - it's not my day, it belongs to my children, gives them a chance to recognize and enjoy and reciprocate the love they receive from me.

I'm happy to say that Fathers Day is, for me, totally unnecessary. I always love the role, get enough breaks and variety, and the love and attention and appreciation feels reciprocated. But a day to officially focus on this abundant source of beauty in my life, and an excuse to demand homemade scones and whipped cream for breakfast, I'll take that as often as my beautiful family and Hallmark will dish it out.

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