Most holidays, although we make them about gifts, are not. They are about appreciating and embracing the gifts we already have. Holidays serve as reminders for us to take that extra time to really impress upon our loved ones our acknowledgment and gratitude for their existence.
Through the years my dad and I have had our differences. As a young girl and woman I wanted my friends and I didn’t want rules. Like a large number of parents raising their first teenage girl, perhaps he didn’t understand me as a teenage “woman” the way I didn’t understand him as a parent; one who worried about my safety, my health and my environment.
Despite all this, my dad has been there for me throughout some of the hardest times in my life, those of which I’m most aware of were and still are in my twenties. As I continue to get older, I’ve gained a different perspective on father daughter relationships. I now realize that even when I didn’t see him being there during my teens because we may have not been on the same side, he was in fact there for me and on my side. He worked day in and day out to ensure my life was as easy as he could possibly make it (along with my 3 other siblings). He still does this, even into my adulthood.
He boasts about who his daughter has become to his friends, sets aside any past or brewing disappointments, and doesn’t hold any resentment for me. Meanwhile, I boast to my friends and colleagues about how awesome he is. My dad encourages me to speak for myself, take charge, and as of my recent career accomplishment, calls me Dr Dutton and whole-heartedly asks for my opinion and advise on matters of health. He trusts me and he’s invested ultimate faith that I will find my way. He is still investing in me emotionally and financially, well into my twenties.
I want to impress upon my readers who struggle with their father daughter or father-son relationships that age and time may foster growth. If we express our appreciation and openly communicate our love for our parents, relationships can flourish and it is never too late to form a relationship. Being a dad is REALLY hard work. We all have the basic human need for unconditional acceptance and love on both sides of the coin, whether parent or child. If you’ve already lost your dad, as I know my friends even in their early and late 20’s have, take this time to embrace that love and to remember your fathers. Set a space where it’s okay to feel what you feel and to get whatever you need from that day, whether it be connecting with your dad spiritually or spending it with others who understand your pain or can lift your spirits. If you’ve still got a grandfather, don’t forget about him and if you live with a dad or someone who needs appreciating, this is the day to make sure you don’t forget to say thank you, I love you or both.
If what you’re looking for is more than words this father’s day, here are some ideas. Maybe it’s time to find an adventure out along the sea-to-sky highway to the new Gondola, hiking, playing catch or a weekend of camping and fishing, an art outing to see cirque du soleil, a flying lesson or breakfast and coffee. There are so many things we can do to tell and show our dads they are appreciated. Beyond that if you are worried about your father’s health, get him a nice gym membership, send him to the man spa for a massage and some cleaning up. For me, my contribution is often a care package of all the best vitamins and boosters I can get him. After all, my dad is my biggest cheerleader!