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Children Family Parenting
Father’s Day has always been a bittersweet time for me, but this year feels especially heavy. My Dad, a pillar of strength and wisdom in my life, is now in serious decline, both physically and mentally. Watching him fade has brought a deep sadness that colors many aspects of this day. The man I counted on to protect me, play with me, coach me, and show me how to do so many things now needs my protection, my care, and my reassurance – a stark contrast to the vibrant father I remember.
Adding to this weight is my own experience of fatherhood. When I first became a dad, I had dreams and expectations of what it would be like. I envisioned camping trips, deep conversations, and a seamless bond with my children. The reality, however, has been much more complex. There are moments of joy, but there are also days I’m confronted with the brokenness of my children and the fact that I don’t meet my expectations of loving and caring for them. All this can make Father’s Day something I might prefer to avoid.
All of us have a story. Some fathers seem to get it mostly right, others are strong but cruel, and some seem mostly disinterested. Whatever kind of father you had or happen to be, I hope there is a path, however obscured, to gratitude. It’s easy to get lost in the sadness or the gap between expectation and reality, but being present helps us to appreciate the small, beautiful moments with the people we love.
It’s okay to be sad or disappointed. Acknowledging these feelings helps us process them and move forward. Father’s Day may not be perfect, and it may even bring up deep pain and sadness, but by focusing on gratitude, being present, and allowing ourselves to feel, we can hopefully find a way to honor our fathers and ourselves.