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Who Father's Day Belongs To

Posted by Mary Webb on June 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM

The esteemed Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas used to say something all the time that I thought was bold and audacious because of its plain and simple truth-tellilng. "Every once in awhile, you have to preach a sermon that will make folks not talk to you after church," he would say. I'm about that life when it comes to hard truths.

Therefore, you should take that little anecdote as fair warning that this post might be like that kind of sermon. If I step on your toes, I apologize for how it was said. But, not what was said.

Here goes.

I am a mother. It is an extremely hard job. Some days, I want to give it up. Others, I curse myself for what I've gotten myself into. Still others, I have to put myself in time-out so my perp walk and mug shot won't be on the evening news. For this 365-day battle, I get a day in May when I, along with millions of other women in the same boat, am touted for this struggle being real.

However unfair and unreasonable it might seem, It is just one day. It is not meant to carried over into June, the month when we celebrate fathers of the world. So, I'm going to need us to stop with the Happy Father's Day campaign for women. And, I'm dead serious.

Now, now, here me out.

First of all, most of us aren't spotlighting deadbeat dads, so we feel angst about them being honored. For the record, we should be just as outraged about mothers who are not during their part and steady trying to get their undue shine. But, this is the main reason I think women should chill with copping Father's Day cred. There are many good fathers who we will negate if we continue to do so. I know there are because my timeline was flooded with my female comrades' pictures, many of them on their wedding days with their fathers, and gushing sentiments that spoke of "the first love of my life". Are single mothers truly doing for our kids all that these fathers did for them? I know that I'm trying to. But I also know that, in some cases I am or will fail, because there are/will be things I cannot teach Quentin and Jory because it truly is a father's job.

Second, what about fathers who did do for their children, but are no longer in a position to do so? Take sickness or even death, for example. I'm hard-pressed to believe widowers and significant others would  be willing to slap their mates in the face by claiming Father's Day for themselves.

I guess the segment of the population who feel like they have the biggest stake in this would be single mothers of which I am one. The justification seems to have its roots in bitterness. Like, dude wasn't here, so he shouldn't be getting no glory on this day. And, he shouldn't. But neither should we be getting a second helping. Let me be honest. (Told you there would be some hard truths). We are single because we picked an unsuitable mate. In my case, I was unwilling to continue this unsuitability. So, I picked up my life and my kids and moved home. There was no gun to my head. No one forced me to do it. I did so of sound mind and free will. I had fairly good idea of how difficult it would be, and I did it anyway. I will not say, "Oh, look at me. Poor me. Doing it all by myself. Being mother and father." I'm still just a mother, maybe doing some of the father's work. We do this all the time on our jobs, and yet, we don't go around snatching extra titles for ourselves  there. 

And, let's be real. There are many married women who would be in as serious a contention for Father's Day praise if we went by that example. When one of them has the balls to go up against their husband for the title, I might be willing to get on board with this sentiment.

Finally, I know it can't just be me who is witnessing a growing phenomenon of men who are raising children by themselves. In the last three jobs I've held, there has been at least one man in that position, though in at least one case, there were two. Just a few years ago, I think this was virtually unheard of. And yet, we would be the first to call for their crucifixion if they started infringing on our holiday. But, what's good for the geese should be good for the gander as well?

So, I have an idea. Why don't all mothers celebrate the arduous task we've undertaken in May, and fathers celebrate whatever role they play in their children's lives in June? The way I look at it is a) one day isn't enough to note all of the sacrifices we make. Is two days going to adequately cover it? Probably not; and b) how many of us are really in it for the exaltation? I think we're doing it for the love.

All this to say, there's one person I'm not honoring for Father's Day. That's me. Quentin and Jory have a father. Imperfect as I may feel he is at times, I remain thankful that they haven't discovered that imperfection. Should they, I will still make them honor and obey him as their male parent as I require of them for their female parent.

Whatever your thoughts, let's be reminded that two young ladies woke up this morning without a dad because he was slain in the line of duty a day before. Let's pray for them, as well as sons and daughters who are without their dads for a multitue of reasons.

Happy Father's Day to all...the fathers!

And, rest well, Officer Daryle Holloway!

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