Something happened to my children this year for which I was definitely unprepared: They started to not care about making a big deal out of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Instead, they focused on the generations-old injustice. ”When is it Kids’ Day?” they demanded.
I rolled my eyes and just had to come back with the same retort as millions of parents around the globe, including my own: “Every day is Kids’ Day!”
I know I said the same thing to my parents. Somehow I had forgotten that stage when Mom and Dad are suddenly not the beloved icons they once were. I mean, I knew that happened…but I didn’t realize we were there.
Don’t get me wrong, I know our children love us. They just don’t get all giddy anymore about doing extra chores so Daddy can relax in the hammock.
I went into this year’s Father’s Day having turned down our 13-year-old’s request to sleep over at a friend’s house the night before. “Don’t you want to be home to make breakfast for your dad?” I asked, remembering full well that they did not feel so compelled on Mother’s Day last month.
“Yes, I do,” she nodded. “But everyone else is sleeping over…”
Too bad. She got picked up at 11 p.m. and slept in her own bed.
The next morning, she was amiable enough about helping me make the sausage gravy and biscuits for her dad. Her 11-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother, on the other hand, were not so accommodating. Downright grumpy, in fact.
After breakfast it was time to get ready for church. We also needed to pick up the house a little because Grandpa and Grandma would be over shortly after Mass, for dinner.
Such tasks are rarely — OK, never — accomplished without their share of angst and drama. This time was no different — never mind that it was Father’s Day. It just didn’t hold the magic it once did.
However, the real magic came during Mass, when my husband and 11-year-old daughter sang a duet they had practiced for Father’s Day. This is not a normal thing. We are so proud of our brave little singer — she has cantored for a few school liturgies and seems to have no fear — and my husband, who likes to sing, wanted a chance to sing with her. He had boldly asked the somewhat cantankerous music director if they could do it, and to our surprise, she said yes. So, they met several times last week to practice, and they sang their song from the choir loft after Communion. It was beautiful, and, I’m told, it brought tears to many eyes besides mine.
Now, Teagan and her dad have a special memory to share, something they will always remember and treasure.
The rest of the day centered on a fabulous meal (if I do say so myself) of beef tenderloin, crab legs and lobster claws (all bought on sale at Sam’s Club and Giant Eagle) and Mama Jo’s pie, and concluded with a family soccer game (using the term loosely) in the front yard.
It might not have started as a Father’s Day to remember, but as the kids grow older and more independent, we need to shift our approach as well. Now that they no longer bring home painted clay pots full of silk flowers to shower upon their parents, we have to look for their other gifts — the interior ones that are more personal and last longer.
Those are the gifts we really treasure.