Kind of Red

June 30, 2010

Father’s Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Painted One @ 11:40 pm

Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

-Ephesians 6:2

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation that declared the third Sunday of June as a day to celebrate fatherhood, and in so doing he officially recognized what had previously been a beloved annual celebration across the country for several decades.   The original idea of creating “Father’s Day” is attributed to Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington.  Mrs. Dodd reportedly had the idea for a day to celebrate fatherhood while hearing a sermon on Mother’s Day in 1909.  Her father, a Civil War veteran, raised her along with her five siblings alone after her mother died in childbirth.  She believed he too deserved a moment of reverence and celebration, and pushed to have a day to honor fathers.  Mrs. Dodd drummed up support amongst local religious leaders, who subsequently celebrated the first Father’s Day on June 19, 1910 in Washington.  The celebration continued to grow throughout the years.

Father’s Day began as a religious holiday, presumably as a means to adhere to the commands of scripture, but quickly became commercialized as it grew in popularity nationally (e.g. President Calvin Coolidge lent his support for the observance in 1924).  It also has signaled a time where our nation pauses to reflect on fatherhood, celebrate those who embrace the title of father, and also serves as a jolting reminder of the deleterious impact that occurs when our fathers are absent.  President Obama, who notably has reflected on fatherhood quite publicly, has used the annual celebration of fatherhood as a means to spark a national conversation on fatherhood and personal responsibility, and also to launch an initiative that promotes responsible fatherhood and mentoring.

In essence, Father’s Day holds different meanings for us all.  Previously, Father’s Day for me represented a time when I would scurry to find a gift for my father more worthy of the occasion than a new tie or customized coffee mug, while simultaneously trying to convey my appreciation for his love and support throughout the years.  More recently, the day has grown in personal significance for me as I journeyed the road to fatherhood myself.  Me and my wife lost who would have been our first child last year on Father’s Day.  A few months after our wedding day, we began debating when we would attempt to “grow” our family.  While we were debating the merits of waiting a bit longer, we learned a new life had begun growing inside my wife.  I, the one who advocated waiting for a more appropriate time, found myself surprisingly elated at the potential arrival, and spent the next several months eagerly preparing for the arrival of our bundle of joy.  I had envisioned how our lives would suddenly change upon our child’s arrival with distinct clarity, an almost arrogant certainty, when, within the blinking of an eye, our hopes were dashed by the unthinkable.  The vapour of life slipped from our grasp, vanishing before we could even fully appreciate its presence.

That jarring moment demonstrated the frailty of this life, and how little control we have over it.  We were crushed, but not without hope.  We took solace in the fact that God, our Father in Heaven, is breathtaking and breath-giving.  It is the Creator, the Giver of Life, who determines the beginning of living, and we had to trust His timing.  We learned that lesson yet again when we found out that we would become parents nearly a year to the day we suffered our crushing loss.

Now that I am a father, I daily experience a range of emotions.  Naturally, I am thrilled that God has entrusted me with this great honor of becoming a parent, and find myself glowing during the day as I discuss the joy of tending to “my princess.”  I also feel consumed with a great sense of wonder and anticipation of who my daughter will become, along with how me and my wife will shape her growth and development.  Particularly, after our experience nearly a year ago, I was constantly reminded of the miracle of childbirth when I saw my wife waddle across the room, or when I observed her motherly glow throughout the day, or touched her belly and felt sudden movements from within, or when I would place my ear to her swollen abdomen and hear a faint heartbeat.

Image by Ema Iruobe of Ema Iruobe Photography

On that blessed Sunday morning when my wife told me she thought she had begun labor, I became to beam with pride as I threw on some clothes and prepared myself to take my wife to the hospital.  I was also filled with nervousness as I constantly asked myself whether I was prepared for the task of being a father.  The moment we awaited for the previous nine months had thrust itself upon us, and with the passing of several hours, we were holding our daughter.

Holding her each day reminds me of how precious this life is, and it continually makes me consider how I am spending mine.  I feel the great weight of responsibility that comes with rearing a child “in the way [s]he should go.”  I find myself constantly examining myself and delving into deep introspection as I search for what lessons I will impart to her, what experiences will she remember me for, what habits are worth keeping, which should be discarded and what will be the be the sum of my legacy.  I wrestle with these questions as I think of what do I have to share that is of eternal significance.

Notwithstanding my lack of answers to these questions, my daughter gives my life new meaning, and new hope for what may come of it. When I peer into her eyes, I see more fulfilling joys, deeper purpose and a new sense of optimism of what the world can be.   I feel an urge to strive harder to be my best knowing she will view her first glimpse of manhood from me.  I feel a greater love for my wife as I share these precious moments with her.  I feel a more urgent desire to make this world more like it should be, so that my daughter will know a better life than I did.  I feel like a father, and there is no feeling like it.

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2 Comments »

  1. Very Nice.

    Comment by cookiedav — June 6, 2011 @ 11:37 pm | Reply


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