Last Sunday was Father's Day, and for some reason, I didn't put as much stock into it as I did into Mother's Day. Sure, I bought my dad something--a white baseball cap, because his collection of black ones doesn't work well in the torturous Texas sun--but I didn't get him a card until I was on my way to the restaurant where we were eating out for lunch. (This is a place with grilled cheese sandwiches on the adult's menu. It's incredible.)
On Mother's Day, everyone is focused on giving Mom the day off. And she deserves a break. It's hard enough babysitting; I can't imagine what it's like trying to turn a child (or multiple children) into a functioning adult while simultaneously doing laundry, cooking, and keeping the house from looking like a tornado hit it. But on Father's Day? It's Sunday, so most dads don't have to work, anyway...do I grill something for him to eat while watching golf?
I was prepared for a quiet Sunday locked up in my room when Dad came to me and said, "At 2:30, you can teach me how to make one of those pin thingies."
I grinned. I'd been wanting to show Dad how to make a penannular cloak pin out of copper electrical wire for at least two weeks. I didn't know why I wanted to. I guess I'm still five years old inside, holding up pictures and books and penannulars and saying "Daddy, look what I made!" And part of me, I guess, just wants to spend time with Dad. When he's not working, he's watching TV, and my sister commandeers most of whatever social energy he has, sparing enough to give me hugs and encouragement and the occasional three-minute conversation at mealtimes or right before bed.
So when we spent about an hour making half a dozen penannular cloak pins, I was ecstatic.
At first, he was just watching me make them. It's simple, really. All you do is bend a piece of copper wire into a horseshoe shape, then hammer it out a bit, making sure the ends are especially wide. The hardest part is using hammers and pliers to attach a pin around the ring, loose enough so that it will move and pivot, but tight enough that it won't slip off the ends. (The end result is basically the prototype of the safety pin.)
I truly enjoyed that rare gem of time I spent with my dad, but I realize that other people aren't as lucky. My sister recently had a birthday party, and I took her and a friend to buy a few last-minute supplies. While we were at Kroger, I was about to say "Let's not forget to buy a Father's Day card" when I stopped myself. The friend I was with had lost his father to a heart attack several years ago. And even though I didn't realize it at the time, that day was actually the anniversary of his passing.
I know that so many people have lost their fathers to sickness, accidents, or even war. But so many more have lost their fathers to alcoholism, apathy, or laziness. They have dads who won't take time to be dads. Some of them may have left the home; others might as well have. I realize that death is a part of life, and that there will be fatherless children as long as this earth spins. But there are far too many right now, and a lot of it can be prevented.
Dads are important. A real dad does more than put food on the table. He disciplines his kids. He teaches them to be respectful and selfless. He shows his sons how to treat women, and his daughters how a man should treat them. He's the spiritual leader of the home. I respect a single mother, but I know she deserves some help.
My dad isn't perfect, but he's great. I know he'll lay aside his work to help me if it's necessary. I know I can talk to him. And I know that, even if it takes a few weeks, he'll find some time to spend with me.
How did you celebrate Father's Day? If you're a dad, what does the perfect Father's Day look like to you? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.