Call it one of my blind spots (of which I have a few)… but I am not a fan of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Maybe it’s just the Grumpy in me, but it’s the artificial constructs of these celebration days that give me nausea and anxiety. For my part, take all the candy, flowers and Hallmark cards and dump them into a landfill. Why do I need a designated day to remind me that I am a father? And at one time, a son? And on “Father’s Day”, how much fun is it to be straddling two chairs? Being both a son and a father? It was a joy being a son (and a grandson), and just as much a joy being a father (and a grandfather)… I just don’t need a specified day to honor the occasion.
I think my ambivalence about these special days, trace back to one Mother’s Day when I was in my mid-teens. Dad decided that he wanted to visit the cemetery, and Mom said that I should go along. I didn’t want to. My thinking: Mother’s Day was about Mom (who was here and breathing), and that’s who we should be honoring – why was Dad confusing the issue?
Reluctantly I went with Dad to East Haven to where Bubbie rested. We walked to her grave site. For the visit Dad brought a small flat of pansies and a trowel. He picked a place near the headstone, dug a small aperture in the ground, planted the pansies, and then took his hands to replace the earth around the small flowers.
The gardening done, he stood up and looked at the monument, then looked down. Not a word spoken. Thoughts collected silently. When he looked up, tears traced down his cheeks. Then a masked sob, a brief sniffle. And nothing more shared.