Father’s day around our house was never a big production. I was usually the first to wake up in the house on any given day, creep downstairs, make myself some coffee, and watch or read the news until everyone else started stirring. I preferred it to be that way. I didn’t relish any extra attention placed upon me.
I appreciated every card or “Happy Father’s Day” I got, and every coffee mug or shirt that Shelby and Megan gave me on that day, but Father’s Day was just another Sunday to me, and I was just happy to have my family with me.
Last year though, it was different. I didn’t have my entire family. I woke up from an empty bed and walked downstairs, trying to have a “traditional” father’s day, but it wasn’t happening. I didn’t even write about it on here last year.
It didn’t feel like a “Father’s Day”. The routine was the same, and though I never thought I would miss the cards and coffee mugs, I did. Shelby and I went and got breakfast that morning, and we lazily made our way south to visit my own father and Megan’s. When Megan died, I had constant self-doubt about being a father. I worried constantly that I couldn’t live up to Megan’s standards or fulfill her wishes. She was “super-mom”, and I was just her trusty sidekick that toed the line. Father’s day was a mess last year mentally.
This year, I woke up next to Sarah. Shelby was already awake, and downstairs playing a video game with the dogs staring at her. After I made coffee, Shelby and Sarah gave me a few cards, humorously illustrated, along with a new shirt and a coffee mug. We went and picked up doughnuts, and ate them in a nearby park. My parents came up to us to visit later that day, and we had a cookout. Megan’s father, having just driven back from a Myrtle Beach vacation with Shelby and the rest of Megan’s family, requested that we actually not come visit so he himself could rest and relax.
Save for the cards and coffee mug, everything was different from what I had known for the past 9 years as a father. It was a much larger undertaking than the previous years. What I found though, is that I appreciated it even more. Between a woman that lost her own father, and a little girl who is growing up way too fast, for them to simply say “happy father’s day” is more than enough recognition for me. I actually felt like a “dad”, rather than the “other parent”.
I can make my own decisions without second-guessing them. I have full confidence in my abilities. Shelby is healthy, happy, and smart, and her dad has brought a wonderful woman and person into both of our lives. One that isn't trying to replace Megan, but rather, honors the relationship between both of them.
It’s taken another year, and some cards and a coffee mug, for me to realize that, yeah, I think I’m doing a pretty decent job as a father.