Family Portrait - By Eric Ward [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsFor years, I resisted the idea of paying any attention to Father’s Day. Maybe it was because of some “mixed feelings” about my father, especially in my misspent youth, when I was fighting his authority at every turn?

But truly, I did have this idea that Father’s Day was a fake holiday that was cynically created by the people who sell greeting cards.

I figured that I would be making some kind of any-consumerism statement by resisting it.

Turns out,  Father’s Day is “real” enough for any cynic.

Way back in 1909, an American woman called Sonora Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon and had the idea that she’d like to honour her father (a Civil War veteran) in a similar way. And if anyone deserved the equivalent of Mother’s Day, a big family dinner, and perhaps a few thoughtfully chosen Father’s Day gifts, it seems like it would be Mr. Smart (Dodd’s father). He had raised six children by himself after his wife died in childbirth. And it’s not like he was a millionaire with a housekeeper and a nanny to help – the man was a farmer in Washington state.

I mean, why shouldn’t the poor man be honoured for doing the job of a mother to his children? And, for that matter, why shouldn’t a man be honoured for doing the job of a father? — even though it is a very different thing, the women’s movement notwithstanding.

Parenting is parenting. It comes in many forms, but it all goes towards raising a child to be a contributing member of society and a good person

Okay, now I feel guilty.

And even Snopes, normally one of my favourite websites, is joining the conspiracy to jab me in the conscience over Father’s Day:

While Mother’s Day is the biggest holiday for phone calls, Father’s Day is the busiest for collect calls….

As to why children tend more strongly towards leaving the male parent on the hook for phone charges, Texas psychologist, minister and author Dr. Brenda Wall says that “We have a different sociological response to our parents that is gender and role-related. We’ve always looked to mom for love and nurturing. But when we look to dad, it’s usually a business transaction or something that relates to power, positioning, or money.”

Okay, now I feel REALLY guilty — it’s not just all those years of non-celebration, there’s the phone bills too.

Father and I have “had our differences” over the years, to be honest. I think the problem has always been that in some ways we’re livingn on different planets, and in some ways we’re too much alike.

But dear Dad had better brace himself for a big party for Father’s day this year — we’ll be making up for lost time! Cake, balloons, chocolates, a nice wine-and-cheese basket, maybe some of those bright red geraniums he likes to plant out in front of the cottage…

Maybe I’ll even write Father a cheque to pay back for all those collect calls I made when I was homesick, away for the first time at college. Who knows? It might be the beginning of something new and joyful, in this complex thing we call a father–daughter relationship.

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