Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day 2015 Plus 3 - An Assessment

"Most single guys I know think fatherhood is terrifying." ~ Jim Gaffigan
Jim Gaffigan is one of my favorite comedians. A father of five children Gaffigan was given a spot on this year's Father's Day edition of CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood:
"Besides the societal pressure to balance out Mother's Day, what have dads done to deserve a Father's Day? ... Frankly plenty. Besides ordering pizzas and serving as the vice president of the family, dads have to battle their own selfishness every day. Dads strive to raise better, smarter, less dad-like humans. Remember, without the comparisons to dads, moms would look horrible. Damn straight dads deserve a holiday!"
There's so much more there than Gaffigan's self deprecation. Watching this on Father's Day reminded me of the father's journey I have been on the past five years. Father's Day is a microcosm of what dads in recovery endure just as Mother's Day is for mothers. It can be as joyous or heartbreaking as the holidays, birthdays, or other family celebrations where we have an opportunity to compare the what is, to the what might have been.

For me, Father's Day is an opportunity to assess where I've been, where I am going and how far I have yet to go. In one day we are handed a snapshot of our life as recovering fathers, no matter what our situation. Father's Day condenses all what it is to be a dad in recovery into the waking hours (and more if you are one of those immediate dreamers) of one 24-hour period each year.

Some of us spent Father's Day with our children who brought us to this journey. Some of us have children living locally and may or may not have heard from them on this day set aside for us. And some of us miss the son or daughter who is miles away by choice, whether that choice was his or hers, or ours. In all these scenarios Father's Day is a test of our resolve, our resolve to stay in the NOW, to live life not based on the past but grounded in what lies ahead. The journey is the thing.

The experience of Father's Day encapsulates the one truth we must hold onto as we progress along our pathways. Our journey is ours. Our children's journeys are theirs to traverse. This truth hits us square in the face on occasions as this where we are singled out for contributions we have made and continue to make to the precious lives we have helped to bring into this world.

As Gaffigan suggests, "...dads have to battle their own selfishness every day." In our case our selfishness has lead us into the thorny landscape of enabling, fixing and controlling, those insulting parenting behaviors we try, one day at a time, to avoid and purge from our lives.

Did we wait to hear from our son or daughter? Were we expecting a card, a call, a visit? Did we make that call, reach out? On Father's Day we can keep our hopes high and expectations low, love our children and hate The Addiction that brought them to their journeys. We can sit down on the metaphorical hillside and see how far we've come. We can acknowledge that we have gone from ragers to fathers who THINK before we speak. We have replaced anger as our go-to emotion with love for our children and a dedication to living our lives to the fullest.

We are dads, deserving of a holiday.

Damn straight!

... keep coming back
"All I want is to be a good dad but I'm pretty bad at it." ~ Jim Gaffigan