Worth the Effort On Father's Day

This year Father's Day fell during a very hectic month in which three back-to-back celebrations took place over the last three week-ends: a college graduate, a high school graduate, and a middle school graduate. All three milestones from the same side of the family exacted an extraordinary effort from all of us. Needless to say, everyone had to do double duty with travel and overnight stays to fulfill family commitments.

My mother, the consummate family peace keeper, called me earlier this week to let me know that she and dad would like everyone to stay home and spend it with their own families on Father's Day; no traveling, no gathering at the patriarchs' home, nada.


I told her I did not agree, and though I would not have to travel since I'm lucky my parents live in the same city as I do, I was quick with my opinion.

“I think we should all make an effort regardless of the extra work, time and cost it takes for us to get together. We should take advantage of every opportunity we have to spend it with Dad.”

“OK then. I'll call everyone and tell them the celebration will be at our house and they can come if they can make it,” said mom in a more authoritative voice.

What you don't know about what prompted me to make this statement is that my husband's father passed away at the young age of 48 from a second heart attack – and he was a doctor. My father has been cancer free for five years after surgery to remove a characinoid tumor in his intestine.

Each Father's Day my husband, the eldest of four siblings, is reminded of how he wishes his father were around to see his grandchildren and how fortunate he is to have been able to accomplish everything he has.

At the other end of the spectrum, we've always been able to count on my father and mother to be the ever-present grandparents to our two children; to feel the love and support of family in spite of the occasional bad moments or unavoidable family squabbles. Taking their presence for granted is something I will not allow.

So you see, though it's comfortable to take the easy way out of a family commitment, don't.

And, don't let your kids, especially the teenagers, take this route either. Don't cave to a request to stay home because “we get bored at grandmas” or “there's nothing to do.”

Go. Spend the time. Show the kids what it takes to keep the family united and how it gets done.

I understand it really is impossible to attend every family event, so what do you do when these situations arise in your family?

Happy Father's Day and hug your dad if you still have one around. If you don't, hug someone else's.

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