This Hallmark holiday doesn’t live here anymore
Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday in the US, as everyone who writes a blog knows, because we’ve been getting pitches for weeks. “Best Fathers’ Day Gift For Your Husband!” “Treat Your Husband Right This Father’s Day!” “Something Special For The Special Dad In Your Life”
Even if I put aside the heterosexism there, it’s so obvious that the people sending me the pitches don’t read my website. I never hide the fact that I’m divorced, so I don’t have a husband. And I guess the “special dad in my life” could be my own dad, except that he’s more of a grandpa these days than a dad, and I highly doubt that he wants all the gadgets these email pitches are touting since he’s pretty much happy with a non-fiction book and a cookie.
While Mothers’ Day doesn’t challenge me at all, and has gotten better since the divorce (I just buy myself a gift and say it’s from the kids, and there’s never an ounce of disappointment), Father’s Day is still a little weird. During the years in which we were divorcing but not yet divorced, I could not stomach the thought of contributing to a gift for LOD in any way. I knew that I needed to facilitate my kids’ interest in their father, but it felt like selling myself out to be a material participant in giving him anything. Our amazing babysitter understood that, so when the kids’ schools didn’t have them make anything for him, she helped them pick out or make cards. It was a true kindness from her to me, and to him, since he got something for Fathers’ Day that wasn’t tainted with the anger between the two of us.
As the divorce wears into a more comfortable track, though, it seems more and more reasonable to help the kids do whatever they want to do for him on the day. Which is why I asked them after church on Sunday to think about what they wanted to make for him, so we could stop at the craft store and get whatever supplies they needed. They ultimately decided on making cards with materials we had at home (sorry for the spoiler, LOD), but what made me stop and think was that while I would never consider giving them money to buy some item for him, I was definitely willing to spend actual cash on supplies they needed if they wanted to make him something requiring clay, paint, yarn, etc.