Happy Father’s Day! Such an important role in a young person’s life and really such an honour to be a father to a child.
Father roles are varied and come with a variety of names and situations. In our modern world we have fathers, papa, grandpas, step fathers or “my son or daughter” of another father. However you come to be in that important role, I hope you know how much you are appreciated on the good days and especially on the tough days.
My own father was very special to me. As I have said before, I was one of six kids, and in our house it was Mom’s boys and Dad’s girls. My father was a quiet man, a farmer who loved being outside, with the animals and in the garden. We were a noisy bunch and I learned to crave quiet and I still do; I need solitary time and often that involves a walk in the woods, a kayak, paddleboard, driving or reading.
I think the importance of time alone I learned to appreciate from my father. We travelled together to Montreal every year on the train and we could sit for long periods in silence, safe in each other’s company. A gentle touch or a smile and all was well in my little world, of books and pens and paper and staring out the windows and enjoying the gentle rhythm of the rolling train.
Now as an adult I can appreciate that my father probably craved quiet to be able to think about all that was on his mind with a big family, a farm and his not-so-great health. It’s why my mom liked church, an hour of quiet in her very busy week.
I have been able to observe my brothers and friends in the role of father and of course my darling in the role of father to sons of another father, with endless qualities such as patience, a sense of fun, guidance, unconditional love and sometimes kicking butt — figuratively speaking.
In the early years when the boys were without an earthly father they would look longingly at some of their friends’ dads and it was so sad for me. It made me think of fathers who had walked away from their children or when divorced parents were always battling at the expense of time with their children. Precious time that is gone in the wink of an eye and can cause such damage to a child’s spirit.
Thanks, dads, for enjoying the time with your children, for staying up with a sick child, for giving lots of hugs and kisses, for guiding your children to be adults. For standing by your children through tough times, for constructive discipline, for answering tough questions, playing catch, camping, hiking, cooking, hockey in the early mornings, helping with theatre sets. For welcoming your kids’ friends into your home, being driver, coach, dishwasher, laundry attendant and so much more. For taking those late-night calls that scare you but are important. For watching your kids fail and walking with them as they try and try again till they succeed. For being accepting of who they are. For being willing to set the dreams and ideas you had for them aside so they can live their own dreams. For sharing your own history and experiences of tough challenges and nightmare first dates, and high school hallways. For sharing your love of music, and listening to your kids. For being present and for so much more. For demonstrating hard work, loving relationships, gentleness and peaceful conflict resolution. For teaching your kids to be decent human beings.
I can’t help but think about all those young people that died in the horrible tragedy in Florida. So incredibly sad. So many of those who died were younger than my sons and I can’t imagine the pain that lies ahead for those families. It is going to be very tough. This Father’s Day will be very difficult for so many of the families.
Hug your kids close today, no matter their age, and Happy Father’s Day.
Michele Blais has worked with children and families in the North Okanagan for the past 29 years. She is a longtime columnist with The Morning Star, appearing every other Sunday.