This year’s Father’s Day will be a lot different than before. With both our boys away in Europe for the summer semester, my friend Shilpa and I have decided to carry out the ritual on their behalf and take our husbands out for dinner. The duo belongs to the brigade of the coolest dads and will not expect any gifts for sure. And even otherwise, it goes without saying that women are more excited with receiving presents. Casting aside my theory, I am actually reminded of a Forbes article I read a few years ago. Captioned as “The Father’s Day Spending Gap: Why Does Mom always Win?”, the article reported that planned spending for Mother’s Day was 40% higher than Father’s Day that year. The write-up highlighted a very interesting point by stating that while ideas for Mother’s Day gifts flew pretty quickly, it can be rather confusing to think of Dad’s wish list.
I once happened to overhear a very sweet conversation between a 6 year-old and her buddy where the little one pronounced that flowers, presents, chocolates, and especially tears always belonged to mommies. As a child nestled in the world of love and innocence, I too was forever intrigued as to why I had never seen my father cry. While my mom had those saline drops instantly streaming down in her emotional moments, my dad gave us the impression that sad tidings and events never affected him. Even outside the immediate family, I had always seen the female species more deeply moved by the breeze of emotions. With my childhood logic, I ultimately reasoned out that God had perhaps made daddies stronger to take care of us all, to shoulder all responsibilities, and to stand straight and tall when the rest of us faltered and fell.
With my strands of grey, I have convinced myself to believe that I have not only become older, but wiser too! It’s my goal to steer out of controversy and not pass any judgement on mankind. As much as I may be tempted to adhere to the maxim that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” I would rather not get into the nitty gritty of human sensibilities. I wouldn’t stereotype and conclude that men are stoic. It has dawned on me that they are as sensitive, just that they are a little better in hiding their emotions. In fond contemplation, I look at three such men.
Every time I listen to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses”, I feel a lump in my throat. In my mind’s eye, I see myself going through that entire journey of a little girl growing up, crossing the threshold of teenage years, and finally leaving her father’s home as a bride. Yes, I did see my father cry for the first time on my wedding day. All along, he had perhaps buried those tender feelings deep down in his heart. “Some superheroes don’t have capes; they are called Dad,” and my dad was truly one such hero. He would leave no stone unturned to shower us with happiness. Three months have now passed since he left us, and I still sense that void. This is a Father’s Day where I feel his physical absence, and the only way to seek solace is to comfort myself with the thought that he is smiling at me from heaven and that I am among those blessed ones to have had one of the best dads in the world.
My childhood partner in crime, my brother older to me by a few years, is a fabulous dad to three endearing girls. He performs his fatherly tasks with a 100% commitment. Ranked as one of the toppers in the list of my well wishers, he however still snubs me as though I am a teenager. At times while pointing out my slip-ups, he is frank and honest to the point of being seemingly rude, and I wonder if the words could have been sugar–coated just for me to feel a little less embarrassed. Yet everyday, I feel that I couldn’t have had a better sibling in life. He has never let go of my hand ever since the day he had welcomed me to the universe as his little sister and has been there for me whenever I trotted and stumbled on the rocky path. Even in my late forties, I still feel the same protective shield and the gentle touch that rubbed those fat tears off of me as a kindergartener going to school.
Although I am a little reluctant to advertise his virtues, fearing that from now onwards he will walk with his nose in the air, I feel that I have no other option but to do so. My anchor for close to twenty five years, my better half has always gathered me up when I have broken down. A diehard optimist, he believes that there is a rainbow at the end of every storm. He possesses patience in plentiful amounts. After being a mother for 20 years and sharing experiences with members of mommies’ fraternity, I have learned that even the most perfect child has shades of foolishness and stupidity in some measure. Despite being an angel otherwise, my boy surely does. In our journey of parenthood together, my husband has always been the calmer one in handling our only child in those rather annoying moments.
Today, I couldn’t help but want to express how much these three wonderful individuals mean to me. Each one of them has molded my being in their own distinct way, yet they all have an equally special place in my heart. More than penning public eulogies, I simply wanted to reflect on how they have played such pivotal roles in my life. They have secured their spots in the class of amazing dads and lovely human beings, and what better occasion than today can I find to acknowledge that they are among the best? Here’s a toast to all loving fathers: Happy Father’s Day!