happy father’s day to me…

I wrote something a long time ago. It was one part of a single sentence that I wrote here on my blog when I was in the midst of what turned out to be a pretty messy and unhappy divorce. Not that many divorces are happy. But mine was rough. I’m speaking for myself here.

The line was something something

“…the private lives of proper nouns…”

It was a line of text that I never got over. That I always refer back to mentally. That any time I’m sharing something publicly I revisit. How am I impacting the world when I share something that touches on the private lives of proper nouns?

At the time I was finding it hard to write. My story wasn’t just my story anymore. Anything I said touched on the lives of others. Any sadness or anger I shared, impacted others. Any joy or happiness I shared, impacted others. Everything I had to say was something that touched on the private lives of proper nouns. It was a feedback loop I didn’t want to feed into. I wasn’t shouting into the unknown. There were real people impacted by what I wrote. And while I didn’t feel wrong, I know that the truths of others must feel just as right to them.

I’ve been out of that marriage for more than 10 years, and I would still describe things as delicate. But sometimes you just kind of push forward and tell your own truth in the most delicate way you can while still remaining honest.

And the truth is that in my home Father’s Day is rough. And as long as I can think back into my life as a mother Father’s Day has always been kind of rough.

There’s a lot of juggling one has to do as a single parent.

I should clarify here that while I am not single, I am a single parent. I’m partnered and have been for a long time. But the parenting of my kid who is now a freshly minted adult is and has pretty much always been down to me.

There were years of scheduling and sharing and attempts at harmony. None of that really worked out. And so for many reasons Father’s Day has been a challenge in my home. Without going into the private lives of proper nouns it is a day that my kid and I have struggled with for a long long time.

But many years ago after a particularly memorably challenging Father’s Day I bought myself some very fancy chocolates and a bottle of cava and said “Happy Father’s Day to you , Cami.”

It became a tradition. Every year for Father’s Day I would buy myself a little gift. I would acknowledge how hard it is to be a single parent. I would acknowledge what an awesome human I was raising.

I also acknowledge my own daddy, and my partner. But as far as my kid is concerned, I feel I’ve taken on the mantle of All-Parent. You know… like Odin. But with tits.

This year for some reason it hit me extra hard. In lock down, tucked away at home, only seeing those in our safe tiny bubble. My kid now an adult. I managed to keep her alive and well through to adulthood. Yay me.

I ordered a gift for my daddy. I ordered a gift for my partner. And then today I remembered one of the gifts I’d considered for my dad. A delivery of house plants and a book about houseplants delivered by my favorite florist. Which I didn’t get my dad because he totally wouldn’t have cared and the houseplants probably would have died. But I realized that it was a Father’s Day gift I wish someone would give to me. And suddenly my tradition of a little Father’s Day gift to myself seemed like not such a little thing. It seemed valid. It seemed huge.

And I sit here typing looking at my new plants and thinking of the time I’ll spend this weekend drinking cava and reading that book on houseplants before I lavish attention on them… I wonder what the rest of you do.

The rest of you who don’t know what the fuck to do on Mother’s Day. Or on Father’s Day. Or for any of the other birthdays and holidays that are meant to pull us together, but that for so many people… make us feel torn apart.

What do you do to honor your losses? To honor your gains? To honor yourself?

4 thoughts on “happy father’s day to me…

  1. mediaChick says:

    My son’s father left me when I was pregnant with him, and I, too, for a long time tried to make Father’s Day “work” for the biological father. This “failure” to keep this man in my son’s life was particularly tough for me as a solo parent because my Pops set the bar pretty high. But the older I get, the more I realize he was “just” being the good, attentive, loving father he should’ve been — which so many men can’t seem to be.

    Pops used to give me Happy Father’s Day cards (Mother’s day cards, too!) and I’m going to start celebrating my All-Parenthood again on both parental holidays. Thanks for the inspiration!

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