This Fathers Day, being recently remarried, I don’t have to face it wondering what to do and who will teach my boys to remember and respect me. But, in previous years, while I was encouraging them to make or buy Mother’s Day and birthday cards for their mother, who had abandoned them, there seemed to be no one to help them with the same task for me.
This is no feel-sorry-for-myself reflection, but a conundrum many single parents face when their birthdays or other holidays come about. I was vigilant in reminding them to remember their mother and her mother, not because she deserved anything from them, but because it taught them to respect parents, other relatives, and learn the right thing to do when they got older.
But it was hard. Did I give them my wish list? Did I take them to shop for me? I had no close relatives or friends that could fill the bill for me, so I had to figure it out myself. The solution: we went out to eat at a restaurant of my choice vs. the usual pizza or burger joint. I took them to the bookstore for an outing and gave them money to find a book for me vs. their usual searching for themselves.
Yes, it felt a bit self-indulgent, but I decided they needed to respect their old man in the same way I taught them to remember their mother, their grandparents, and each other on respective birthdays. Also, to pay attention to what I liked by actually thinking about a book that would be of interest to me.
Now, I have a thoughtful and attentive new wife and stepmom for the boys. It’s taken care of the way I remember, when my mom would take me to buy a tie clip for my dad at the department store. Ah, tie clips, another anachronism. But, what do I know; I’m just a guy.