Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fathers Shortchanged?...

I was amazed to learn this morning, as I was sipping my coffee, that Father's Day is a relatively new holiday. It seems it actually started in Spokane, Washington in 1909, when a lady was listening to a sermon on Mother's Day. Having been raised by her widowed paternal parent, it occurred to her that fathers should be honored in a similar fashion. The following year, the mayor of Spokane declared June 19, 1910 as Father's Day. The month of June was chosen because it was the month of lady's father's birthday (did that make sense?). It wasn't until 1966, when Lyndon Johnson was in office, that a presidential proclamation was made designating the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. And then, it was another six years until Richard Nixon signed into law that the holiday was made official.

I guess I just thought Father's Day had always been around. I can remember always celebrating both Mother's Day and Father's Day. I was surprised to learn that this important day is only 34 years old. Seems rather an oversight to me.

After all, while mothers are certainly important, fathers are just as much so. Until women in the workforce became more of a necessity than an exception, the father of the family provided all of the income in the household. Then he came home, usually took care of the yard, played ball with his kids, took out the trash. And who was the dreaded disciplinarian of the clan? Yep...Pop!

My father had a very stressful job flying for Pan American World Airways as a flight engineer. Then after flying for hours straight, he'd get into his bright yellow Ranchero with the flaming orange strips and drive 120+ miles home from Los the days before a decent freeway ran all the way through. As kids we just kind of took it for granted. But a few years ago, I did a lot of commuting to just the Bay Area (a mere hour flight, sitting back in my seat, slurping my Diet Coke, reading my book, as opposed to 23 hours of working, not counting the drive). After 23 months, I was physically exhausted. And I'd totally gained a new comprehension for the sacrifices my father made for his family.

While I am enlightened to learn that Father's Day is new, I guess it's also important to remember that we don't need just one day a year to honor and cherish our parents. We have 364 other days to tell them how much we love and appreciate them. And to keep in mind that life is short and precarious, and someday, someday much too soon, we won't have that opportunity.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. Your kids love you.


What a very sweet, and informative, post. I didn't know Father's Day was that new. And yes, as someone who lost her Dad at a young age, I definitely agree - cherish your Dads (and Moms) all through the year, and don't miss the opportunities to tell them you love them. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Father's day has been designated a special day in Washington for over 50 years. I remember Father's Day when I was pre-school. What is surprising is it wasn't in the rest of the country.

Wow... I never knew that. I guess I figured the days were invented together.