Father’s Day is coming. It bears mentioning since statistics show that compared to our madrecitas, our daddies get short shrift when it comes to honoring their important role in the family.
Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout Europe on the first Sunday of May. In the United States it has been celebrated since the late 1800s. Throughout Latin America, mothers are celebrated on various days in May. In Mexico, of course, the day is dies de mayo. The world-wide celebrations of mothers occur in May which is a time specifically dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It’s also perhaps the most beautiful time of year particularly because of delicate, blooming flowers, another symbol connected to our mothers.
In contrast, there really isn’t a día de los padres, per se celebrated throughout the world. And even in the United States where we celebrate ground hogs, dads get their day only as a kind of afterthought — one month after we’ve honored our deserving moms. June is a month of irrepressible, oppressive heat and the blooms are desiccate, dusty memories. The first official father’s day didn’t even happen until 1966.
According to the website menstuff.org, statistics show that since that first Father’s Day, the celebrations for dads have been overshadowed by the ones for moms. Hallmark sees the sale of 150 million cards for moms and only 95 million for dads.
Mother’s day is celebrated like a kind of religious holiday. We call mom up or shower her with flowers and gifts.
And dad? 8 million dads get neckties on Father’s Day.
I wonder if our slighted fathers aren’t the result of a broken society. If a father doesn’t comport himself as such, why should he be honored? But then why should all dads llevarla?
What about the households where mom and dad both strive to make the house a home for the family?
Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s I was one of the lucky ones. My dad was very present. He was indefatigable when it came to fulfilling his responsibilities for his family. He set a rare example of a relentless work ethic.
Though he was a man who did not show emotion, it was easy to discern what roused his dry sense of humor. And we all knew he loved us.
More than anything else, my father had faith in his children. He offered us the tools needed to reach certain goals on our journey through life. The rest was up to us.
Even in his death, he managed to do this. As a family we witnessed his struggle with a long merciless illness and then a merciful death. I was 30 years old, and his was the first funeral I ever attended.
Today I feel that even all of that was a lesson from him to impart to me to be fuerte and to sobrevivir and continue on the journey to which he had so lovingly guided me.
On June 19th, I’ll remember my dad. How he never missed a day of work. How he prized education above all other things for his children. His silly chistes. How Cantinflas and “El Gorde y el Flaco” (Laurel and Hardy) made him laugh a carcajadas. How he loved my mother. How his last words to us all were that he loved us.
If my dad were here, I might treat him to lunch or give him a card or some small gift. Maybe. But I would thank him for always being a good father. I would definitely say the words to him if I could.
And one more from Yvette
Here is an excerpt from an essay about her husband as a father to their daughter, Christianna.
My father, who passed away in 1996, was a man who liked what he liked. And my husband is the same way. But that’s where the similarities end.
My dad liked Antonio Bribiesca. David admires The Ramones. My father wore a tie to work everyday. David does not enjoy socks. My father got up before the sun, at the same time everyday. David does not wear a watch.
My father was a homebody, traveling only to his beloved beach in Port Aransas once a year, and rarely ever venturing any place else. David loves to travel, and if it weren’t for the tendencies I inherited from my father to stay close to home, he would have married me atop Machu Picchu.
Click this link to read the whole essay.
Yvette Benavides teaches English composition and literature at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. With her husband, she co-hosts “Texas Matters”on Texas Public Radio. You can read her blog at Borderworld Girl.