When Mother’s Day was here a few weeks ago I did my usual infertile woman thing and just pouted a bit. This in spite of the fact that I’ve got a perfectly wonderful mother. Now that Father’s Day has at last come rumbling along I therefore don’t feel right about gushing over the wonderfulness of my Dad. While he is indeed wonderful I don’t want to give him odes and sonnets while making my mother suffer through a bellyful of bellyaching.
Although I suppose it would be both appropriate and well overdue. My parents were Christian people. ARE Christian people (even though they no longer have dictates over my churchgoing habits.) They made sure we were in church as often as possible. Sunday Mornings, definitely, Sunday nights usually, Wednesday nights most of the time. But my father hated Father’s Day in the church. He would claim–and later be proven right by my own experience in a half dozen other churches–that the Mother’s Day sermon is always about how great Moms are but Father’s Day messages are about how all fathers are lousy and need to do better.
I suppose that would’ve been different had we been Roman Catholic, where the women have a more serious spot of reference. Say what you will about Marianism and the Saints, but they DO give women a role model in the Holy Pantheon. Other than that chapter in Proverbs (39) that tells us to be all things to all people, we Protestant and Anabaptist women have nothing hanging over our heads that’s as daunting as the fellows do. After all, folks get their concept of God the Father from their dealings with their earthy fathers. So I suppose ministers feel they’d better get cracking, lest a plague of indifferent or awful sires bad-parent them right out of business. Who wants to go worship a father-God when your own father left you fleeing at 18 screaming “FREEDOM!!!” like a freshly-gutted William Wallace?
I suppose by that reckoning–41 sermons on bad dads versus 41 sermons on the utter cuddliness of moms–it wouldn’t be so bad to give my dad some love on Father’s Day even as I slighted my mom five weeks ago. He is an awesome father for sure and not deserving of all the pulpit-born disapprobation of his lifetime. Still and all, I think I’ll save the real odes to both of them for a time of my own choosing. Especially given my circumstances of the moment. I am too drug- and pain-addled from these kidney stone babies I’ve been delivering to do much other than mumble incoherently and drool. I’ll be announcing my candidacy for the Senate any day now.
Besides, I don’t like Father’s Day either. Not because of the day itself but because every time it gets here I feel like the invisible hand of fate–the one that jabs and pokes me for Fate’s own amusement–is clicking a giant stopwatch to let us all know that summer is s t a rtingNOW!!!! Boom! The ignitions on 15 million grills are the blast of a starter’s pistol that sends summer charging out of the gate. When Fourth of July comes the fireworks are all the hopes and plans we had for the cool stuff we were gonna do exploding in the air. Summer goes by too quickly, faster than the other seasons it always seems. And to me Father’s Day just rubs it in.