Twice lucky - FamilyEducation

Twice lucky

June 22,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I got lucky this Father's Day weekend--I had my dad with me for part of the day on Sunday, and my husband, of course, for all of it. I got to be my dad's daughter for most of the weekend, and to help my kids make the day special for my husband. And while my dad was here, I felt as if I had one foot firmly planted in the days of my childhood; that I was a little girl again, holding my dad's hand to cross a street, or butting heads with him over math homework, while my other foot was rooted here, in this crazy, wonderful present-day world of mine, where I'm a mostly capable parent, running a household, working, and helping my daughter write I love you, Papa in spidery letters across the top of a card. Later in the morning, after blueberry pancakes, and veggie sausages, and piles of fresh strawberries, I stood outside our house with a lump in my throat and watched my dad drive off, taking with him the flat of pink petunias we'd bought together at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, some fresh tomatoes and peaches, and that little girl part of my heart that will always belong to him. Father's Day is a funny holiday. All the stops are always pulled out for Mother's Day--a holiday that the advertising industry would have us believe is traditionally all about pampering, breakfasts-in-bed, chocolates, dinner out, some spa time. But when you browse the Father's Day card section of most stores certain themes rise to the forefront: golf, beer, fishing, tools, belching. What are you supposed to do for the dads in your life on Father's Day? Give them the day off to golf? Pack them off on a fishing trip with the guys? Buy them some beer? And while you would never, ever, god forbid see a humorous Mother's Day card out there about farts or beer bellies or poor fashion choices, these types of cards abound this time of the year. I think the advertising industry doesn't quite know what to do with dads. Is he the breadwinner? The Mr. Fix-It in the household? The Protector? The endearing, clumsy, Mr. Mom? I don't know what what the best definition of "Dad" might be, or what Father's Day might mean to everyone. But I do know what it means to me. I know that much like Mother's Day, it's a day when I feel lucky--lucky I married a man who is not only my friend and my rock, but one of the best fathers I know. I feel lucky to have my dad on this earth still, and to have been given the gift of time to spend with him--a gift I know grows more and more precious as the years pass. Scott with baby T.Scott with baby T.