Friday, May 25, 2012

My Dad. -and a small rant-

The marketing media (Hallmark, etc) seems to treat Mother's day like it's the end all and be all of holidays. It also seems to treat Father's day and graduation season like they're the same holiday and are of equal (un)importance. I don't understand this. I mean, sure, graduation is a big deal. You survived school, you made it all the way through, you completed, and for some of the people in my age group that was a real struggle! However, making it the same as or greater than Father's day? Sure, dads are harder to buy presents for (how many times have we fallen back on the tool set or the tie or the "dad is great" coffee mug?) but that doesn't make them any less important.

And sure, they didn't spend 20 hours in labor pushing you out after 9 months carrying you like an alien parasite in their bodies. But, they do a lot of other and still really important stuff. Dad stuff.

Let me tell you about my dad.

My dad isn't perfect. He became a dad way before he was actually ready to even be a grownup and he's had to do a lot of learning along the way. But he's a good dad, in that he's always been there as a dad and he's always done his best to do right by the family. Even in his worst moments, I know he was still just doing the best he knew how to do.

My dad got our family through a lot. When I was really young, my parents and I moved to Indiana from California because Dad had been promised a job - that he didn't have when he got there. For a little while, we were homeless, and he got us through it. Later on, when there were three kids instead of just me, a coworker got mad at my dad and threatened our family - he got us through that one too, praying and trusting God to provide a way out of danger's path and then listening and seeing the path God provided.

Through the years, I've watched my dad work a lot of jobs where he was paid less than he deserved, worked harder than he deserved, and treated really poorly. He worked those jobs to take care of us. From Northern Harvest to Cintas, to painting fences for the school district, my dad has always done whatever he could to keep the family taken care of. He's come home exhausted and dropped into bed only to wake up exhausted a few hours later so he can go out and work. He's lived for months on end with a sleep schedule that consisted mostly of catnaps in the drivers' seat of a limo. He's worked through sickness, stress, extreme pain, all to make sure that no matter what we were taken care of.

In the times when he didn't have a job, he swallowed his pride and asked for help - something he probably never would have done for himself. He's set his dreams aside, over and over again, because sometimes reaching them meant risking his ability to provide for us - and he just won't do that. He's taken jobs that were beneath him, and jobs that were way out of his comfort zone. Throughout my entire life, one of the reliable facts is that my dad works hard, and he does whatever it takes to take care of the family.

Dad wasn't the one in pain when I was born, but since the day he found out I was on the way I know he's spent a lot of time worrying about and taking care of my mom and I - and all of my other siblings, as they came along. He's sacrificed a lot, spent a lot of sleepless nights, probably put his health and his safety at serious risk, to make sure that we were provided for. And he wasn't content with all of that. Even when he was working as a chauffeur, and he barely got ten minutes in a given hour to rest - much less sleep - he still did his best to be a present dad; to show up at events, to help with homework, to be there for dinner. As a kid, it's all stuff I didn't see, how hard he was working and how hard he tried. But recently, as I look at what it takes for Dearest and I to run our company, I'm beginning to recognize just how hard my dad really did work, the lengths he really did go to, the effort he put in - all to take care of us and try to be a good dad in the meantime.

My dad's not perfect. Nobody's is. Even Dearest won't be perfect as a dad. But just because Dad is out of the house more often, is too tired to play more often, and is WAY harder to buy gifts for, doesn't mean that he's not important. Graduation is awesome, but what you went through to finish high school is nowhere near what most dads go through to keep their families safe and cared for.

So a note to Hallmark: Just because the two events happen in June - and both are pretty hard to buy gifts for - doesn't mean they're the same thing. "Dads and grads' is a cute way to market, but one really is a bit more important than the other - imagine trying to combine Mother's day with Administrative Staff Appreciation day!


  1. I have to admit, I (and the rest of the fam) thought it was a rant ABOUT You are absolutely right though. Dad has done so much, given so much. I think that all of us, when we're young, we just don't realize what goes into the care we're given by our families. I really appreciate your point of view on this. I agree that Dad's, and more specifically, Fatherhood, is such a serious and wonderful ting. It deserves MUCH more clout than to become a "lumped sum" holiday.

  2. lol sorry about that, I guess I didn't think about how it would sound when read together. I was just watching TV the other day and saw a crapload of 'dads and grads' advertisements and it kinda made me mad. lol