These are my thoughts on the evolution of Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day, in the last ten years of my life. These are the years during which I’ve been known as Mr Mom. For those of you that haven’t seen it, even my license plate reflects this Chapter of my Life.
When this Chapter began, my oldest son was 11 (almost 12). Because of his age, the oldest did have an established relationship with his mother before she left and I don’t think he ever quite went along with the humor I saw in being Mr Mom on Mother’s Day. I will also say, he never complained, either. Of course, that’s separate from the issue of me driving him to school with this license plate on the car. When I ordered the license plate on-line, I called him down to look at it and he said “Dad, I don’t think I want to be seen in the Jeep anymore!” His friends did give him a bit of grief because of my sense of humor.
On the other hand, the twins were not yet 2-1/2 years old. At that age, their primary concerns in life were: who is feeding me, who is clothing me, and who is changing my diaper. With support from Bo, that was mostly me.
Once they were in a daycare facility, they were exposed to the culture about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. That culture really didn’t have room for a Mr Mom. All the kids and the staff were familiar with mothers being around for Mother’s Day; there were no other custodial Dads with kids at the center. The concept of the Dad being the Mom was a bit strange to some of them.
Over time, though, they got to believe that I was going to be there for everything. That I would be there for the routine stuff (like we need extra clean clothes and diapers here as backups) and the big things (your kids pulled the fire alarm and forced a building evacuation <– True Story!), caused minds to change.
The first year that my twins were encouraged to prepare a Mother’s Day card for me was unbelievably exciting, emotional, sad, happy… Nothing adequately sums it up. And, a month later, they prepared a Father’s Day card for me also and all of the same emotions came flooding forward. (Disclosure: I have not been able to write this without tearing up again.)
Throughout their preschool years, and through the elementary school years, the pattern continued. Each year I demonstrated my willingness to be there and do what was required. And each year, the teachers encouraged the twins to prepare a Mother’s Day card for me. In elementary school, though, Father’s day occurred after the end of the school year. So, unless they had the same day care staff that summer as the summer before, Father’s day started to diminish in significance.
Then came Middle School. And, as the expression goes, this changes everything!
No longer do the teachers help the kids celebrate Mother’s Day. And Father’s Day is still after the end of the school year so it gets an even smaller recognition.
This year was the first Middle School year for the twins. With no prompting from teachers or staff, there was no Mother’s Day card. I guess the expectation for most is that their Father would be the one to encourage them to do something for Mom. I’m fairly sure I didn’t expect anything; but really, Mr Mom the Dad can’t be reminding the twins to remember Mr Mom the Mom on Mother’s Day, can he?
But, given their significantly advanced age of 12, I was hopeful for Father’s Day. When Father’s Day rolled around, here’s the situation with my kids:
- Oldest son, now having graduated from college, is living in Harrisburg PA
- Twin Daughter was spending the night at a girlfriends house
- Twin Son spent night here with me
So, on Father’s Day morning, my oldest son called to wish me a Happy Father’s Day. That made me very Happy and, with his current schedule, also very surprised.
Twin Daughter called to wish me a Happy Father’s Day. That was also much appreciated; but, I also believe it was inspired by the preparations for Father’s Day at the girlfriends house. The GF’s parents are separated so the kids were truly looking forward to the arrival of their father.
Twin Son didn’t mention anything, even when we were eating breakfast together.
When Twin Daughter arrived home, she again wished me a Happy Father’s Day and gave me a big hug. Twin Son says nothing. So, out loud, I say “At least 2 of my 3 kids remembered its Father’s Day.” And, very softly, Twin Son says “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”. Of course, I did say Thank You.
Have you had any interesting Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations? Ones you might never forget? Or ones you wish you could forget?
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