Father's Day 2018 - In Review
There is a Chinese proverb which says "may you live in uninteresting times". The idea being that excitement, like change, is actually a neutral concept. There can be good excitement, and bad excitement. To say you want to live an interesting life is a noble idea, until you realize that you might just get exactly what you wanted - and a lot you didn't. In that same way, I hope you all passed a mostly uneventful Father's Day.
I hope you got to spend time with the people who make you proud to be a dad (and/or proud of your dad), or at least spoke to them over the phone. I hope you all a multitude of smaller happy moments rather than felt you had to cram in a lot of excitement into a mostly arbitrary day to celebrate Fatherhood. Father's Day shouldn't be about shopping for the newest and fanciest barbecue tongs - it should be about using the tongs you got least year to make and share a meal with the ones you love.
I spent my first Father's Day at my paternal Grandmother's funeral.
I actually don't think of this as a negative. My grandmother was the consummate matriarch to a large and ever-growing extended family. She welcomed innumerable children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren into the world and would show interest in an knowledge about all of them. She was the sun around which a lot of love orbited.
Her passing was sad, but in many ways it brought people together. My father's generation (the children) seemed remarkably at peace about the whole thing. Everyone had been sad and my grandfathers passing because my grandmother was still there to be consoled. The unspoken reality was that now it was her turn next, and this pessimism hung in the air. Now, the book had closed but the story made sense. She hadn't had much of an easy life but she made the best of it and just about everyone who gathered there was able to keep that in mind.
Moreover, it was a welcome chance to meet up with my Father and my brothers. We all live in different cities, and to be together for as long as we did, and for a bonding experience as high-quality as the celebration of our grandmother's life was certainly welcome. The funeral also took place (relatively) near my wife's family home, so afterwards we got to share our new son with my wife's side of the family. Ever considerate, even in death, my grandmother found a way to let not one but two new grandfathers celebrate their first Father's Day as a grandfather.
Out of all the commotion, the fact it was Father's Day almost receded into the background. And as a result, I got to share more small but meaningful moments as a dad. And that's all I really wanted in my first year as "Dad".
- - -
This is also the first of Fathers & Friends. So far, things have been progressing - somehow - glacially slow and yet dizzingly fast. What started as a simple idea has gathered institutional structure, yet as with a lot of things, there a lot of balls in the air to be juggled at once and it's been hard to get everything in place, especially since you need to successfully have everything but one in place to get that one part off the ground but you need that one part to be off the ground to get the others off the ground as well...
But the good news is that we're live! We're in the process of gathering up referral sources and setting up local chapters. These first few mentorships will be a learning process. The resources mentors need will be living documents, updated based off our feedback from the ground. The referral sources will allow us to identify new mentors and new mentees, feeding back into the loop.
Going forward, Father's Day will be a naturally important day for us. Expect to hear more from us through the year until Father's Day 2019. Check back then and we'll see where we are - and where we'll go to next.
- - -
I leave you with a great article by Seamas O'Reilly in the Guardian. I think it's an accurate description of how a lot of us think about our own dads. Some of us might take a bit more time to feel this way, and a lot of us might be a bit more stressed out when we were becoming dads. In fact a lot of the questions or concerns Fathers & Friends hopes to resolve in the mind's of Canada's new dads and dads-to-be probably are different shades of these concerns. But if we all commit to cultivating this type of reflection towards our own fathers and leaving this kind of an impression in our children, capital-f Fatherhood will be all the better for it.
- Colin McCann, Managing Director