The (Surprise) Father’s Day Post

It’s Father Day’s morning and I am sitting outside Peet’s Coffee in San Jose nursing the last ounces of a cup of coffee and enjoying a moment of solitude.  This is one gift I wanted today for Father’s Day.  Father’s Day (Mother’s Day,  Valentine’s Day, you pick it) feels contrived and usually I’ve railed against it.  Earlier today I blasted past the “Happy Father’s Day” and “I miss my father on Father’s Day” posts on my Facebook feed in search

At this moment, it feels special somehow.  I admit it.  It’s not only because given a moment to contemplate, I’ve realized that I bothh am a father and have a father; I suppose the guess the Sandwich Generation father tag on the blog is a giveaway for that.  I’m at a brief window, a pause in the slipstream, where I am drawing strength from both sides.  Summer is about to start, and if you just fought through the winter that we experienced in Boston, you too have had this day marked in Sharpie for months on your calendar.  And to top that off, I’m with my family visiting my brother and his family, so my clan just doubled.  People need clans.

And this is why this article in the New York Times (called “At Home, Many Seniors Are Imprisoned by their Independence”) caught my attention.  If like me you are generally pressed for time, I’ll save you the trouble.  It’s about the phenomenon of ‘aging in place’, where seniors try to stay in their homes.  It seems best to let people live out their days in a familiar environment, but there is a tradeoff: it means that they are often alone.  With no clan.  And for many people, it is harder because it turns out that being alone as a general condition is not how we are designed.  Not by accident is solitary confinement criticized as cruel and unusual punishment.

Even my father, who is a misanthrope 13 days out of 14, needs his biweekly “Classical Music Hour” to interact with other people, even if only to complain about them later.

So as I am finishing up this post and contemplating ending this short hour of blessed solitude, I am reminded why it feels so wonderful: I am generally sandwiched between responsibilities, being needed by people I love, and needing and loving them in return.  The glass is half-full today.  Happy Father’s Day.

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2 responses to “The (Surprise) Father’s Day Post”

  1. Julia Miwa says :

    You are so right about the need for community. My mother, who lives alone, has been volunteering at a local hospital for the past ten years or so. She puts in about 30 hours per week, greeting and escorting patients and using her formidable secretarial skills. Before she started volunteering she was becoming very isolated, as her previous avocation was assisting elderly relatives and caring for grandchildren; the former were dying off and the latter were moving into adulthood. The hospital job has been fantastic for her, giving her a community of people of all ages who look forward to seeing her each day. On one occasion I was trying to reach her by phone and only knew the name of the hospital where she works. It only took about five minutes to be connected to one of her office-mates, because every person I spoke to knew who “Miss Jean” was and where in the hospital she worked.

    Glad you are enjoying this Fathers’ Day. The enjoyment you get from being a father comes through in everything you write.

  2. savvysandwicher says :

    Such a positive post! Yesterday was my first FD without my dad but I wasn’t sad…thought of him often and reflected that I was so lucky to have him as my dad and frankly to have a dad at all! Glad you had some R&R yesterday.

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