This should have been written on Father’s Day – viz June 20th, a Sunday, but I was enjoying it too much to bother – there were lots of wishes, but no hugs this year (last year too, sadly) and the kisses were mostly on WhatsApp – as were the gifts! the most enjoyable moment on Father’s Day to my mind, is however when the mother of your kids wishes you. It does resonate with Thanksgiving Day celebrations.
Importantly though, I thought I should not miss out on a good subject –Fatherhood is always good news, except if you are surprised by it. It is even more so because the day shared space with World Refugee Day! That will happen occasionally, not because you think the way you do, but because Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June every year. The news going around on WhatsApp, that it is celebrated every nine months is a myth!
Sometimes fathers do attain Refugee status and need refuge away from home. But if that happens on the same day as World Refugee Day… then that would be a travesty of fatherhood. But then some fathers are hoods and certainly, all fathers are sometimes hoods!
Fatherhood, by all accounts, is a divine gift that is precious because it teaches man to love unconditionally, to nurture someone beyond himself, to run to protect another in the face of grave danger, to give to others without considering the return, and bond with someone other than the one they see in the mirror! Sometimes it alters personality too.
Fatherhood starts well before a man enters the labour room. And he doesn’t find it laborious – not until then. But an expectant father is a bundle of nerves, and must be rapped on his knuckles often, if he must quickly learn new stuff – mainly how to be a gentleman and to put others – there is now more than one – before himself. Some learn the ropes quickly; some need their hair pulled. But they get around to it within 9 months or less. They even learn the difference between a milk bottle and a milk bottle quickly – because one of them now comes in a tetra pack!
But once in the labour room, they begin to have doubts about the whole idea of fatherhood when they see the initiation rituals of motherhood! They feel responsible for the pain they have caused and would have gladly reversed the process at that moment – if they could. But then where would that have left the kid? In no man’s land!
Often, they are relieved when the process is made somewhat less painful / easier with the modern cut and sew option, much like the cut and paste option has eased the pain of typing. The main thing for them is they are shooed out of the room…
So, they father on, with tenderness in their hearts and pride in their chests when they see a chip of the old bloke! Intel inside?
That’s what keeps them going perhaps.
Fatherhood then grows on them – as they announce the good news and make it better every day with their hands, head, and heart! There is a lot to learn and do still. But he is up for it. He’s evolved and wants to be involved, and sometimes regrets that he can’t do it all himself. Some Dads do, if they are single. And it is this change of emotional gender that has seen the advent of Paternity Leave. but leaving paternity to her is no more an option! Dad rocks, but mum rules! And Dad soon learns it’s better to stay … or say, mum!
It’s an opportunity to play the hero. That’s exactly what children think of their fathers, or is it? What do the children really think of their fathers? Fathers should know for they were children of their fathers once. History always repeats though fathers strive to ensure it does not.
At first perhaps, they adore him as their hero. But often he is too busy to notice. He believes that he is Robin Hood! He does not have the self-confidence to be sure that were he not to provide, he would still be hero-worshipped. Perhaps God did not give him that grace knowing full well that he would take the easy way out! God is a good Judge of character!
All fathers – don’t deny it – have compared their children to others when it was time to view/review the report card! Yet they are disappointed, terribly so, when their child asks for his report card or compares his father to someone else’s! He goes from Hero to Zero, and as the kids enter their teenage years – to sub-zero! Still, he is Bear Grylls – He grins and bears!
But evolution has a way of ironing out the creases in any relationship and so it does, mostly – until he announces he wants to get married! And why not – he too wants to enjoy fatherhood…
Expectations on either side cannot be wished away…for love expects, the lack of umbilical cord notwithstanding. Great expectations, Charles Dickens would say. And they never end, until death do they part.
And as the father withers like an old oak tree and closes in on the casket made of it, does he become a bundle of joy, a burden of choice or a huggee – a disposable diaper? Fathers – the farther they are, the better it is?
Now, give it up for single dads! They deserve it! Every single Dad!
This Article is written in a lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.
Image by MayaQ