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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Holidays without Parents

I'm not a huge fan of Mother's Day.  It's not because I don't think I deserve strawberry nutella crepes (the breakfast A has been making the last few years).  It's not because I don't want a day with no arguing (fyi - it doesn't really happen but a mom can dream, right?).  And it's not like I don't want it acknowledged but if I make a big deal about Mother's Day, then I need to do the same for Father's Day.

And the problem with that is I haven't had a dad for all but two years of my life.  I remember being with my then-boyfriend when I was in 11th grade and a friend of his asked me what I was doing for Father's Day.  Nothing, I replied.  He thought that was awful.  I just didn't want to explain it.  So I never did.  Not when I didn't show up for father-daughter dances in girl scouts.  Not when my uncle offered to be a substitute dad for all those events (which I always declined).  Not ever.

Then I had kids.  I had to celebrate Father's Day.  It was fine, if not weird, in the beginning.  We included my father-in-law and it was good.  The ex was (and is) a good dad.  He got that it was tough for me.  But it was okay.

Now that I no longer live with him, it's a little harder to make sure Father's Day is a good day for him.  He still gets gifts but now he controls the grill (instead of me).  The girls don't make him crepes (he can't eat them). And he has a whole other family to add to the mix.  They have a celebration that doesn't involve me, which is just fine.

Since my separation, I've had a taste of what life was like for my mom.  The main difference is I have a partner I can talk to, ask to help or just vent to.  She didn't.  So for the last several years, I've tried to acknowledge Father's Day for my mom since she was both a mom and dad for me.

I'm now at that age when my friends have parents who are older.  Several friends have lost fathers in recent years.  I suspect days like today are harder for them, though it's really not a contest.  It's hard for lots of people for lots of different reasons.

So while the rest of the world is grilling, going to ball games and fishing with their dads, I'll be hanging at the old folks' home with my mom.  It's a good way to spend the day.

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