Today, being Father’s Day in the UK is bitter sweet for me. Unsurprisingly, I will not be laying down flowers or cherishing my dead father’s memory. I wonder if his truest fan, my sister, will. I do not look back on this day with pure hatred. There were times, especially as young children, where Father’s Day was an enjoyable event. A time where it was about the love we felt for him. There was no expectation of us and he was happy with a simple home-made card. Sadly, that innocence was taken from me early on. Expectations and presumptions were made that I alone would provide my father with an entertaining and lavish Father’s Day, after all, I chose to live with him, it was my duty to do so.
I longed for the days where making him a morning tea and breakfast with a card was enough. Where it was thought and gesture that mattered. Towards the end of his life and as I grew older, my father began demanding the calibre of Father’s Day and a check-list of tasks that would impress and please him. He would prepare his own Father’s Day essentially. It would be a real chance to get me to do the things I would normally refuse to do, such as cleaning the entire house in one day or cooking him a lavish dinner. I would often argue that this was not what Father’s Day was about. It wasn’t “Turn your Child into your Slave Day” yet to him he felt that it was a commitment as his daughter that I ‘obeyed’ his requests. It would make him happy and if I wanted him to be that then why would I object.
After agreeing and immediate regret one year I vowed never to do that again. I didn’t. He verbally scolded me for that choice for many months to follow. The next Father’s Day was a disaster as my father was still harbouring a nasty grudge against me.
Next year will mark a new chapter. My husband will be celebrating Father’s Day for the very first time.
This will mark a significant shift in our lives and a brand new set of memories will occur.
I will embrace them.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who would to anything for their children.