Put into context, Father's Day is, for the most part, an opportunity for people to celebrate, or at the very least, acknowledge their fathers, fathers-in-law, grandfathers, and, in general, their families.
In the context of the past year of my life, however, this particular Father's Day represents a different, and far more valuable, scope of significance. This might have been the Father's Day that never was.
Without delving into too much history (not for brevity but in an interest to save bandwidth) I was in a far different place in my life a year ago than I find myself now. I was in an ill-advised relationship in which I was engaged to a woman and her parents, who, with her permission, were emotionally stifling her, and our, lives. Her parents involved themselves in her daily life without impunity or hesitation, so as the summer wore on, they did so with mine as well. Out of nowhere, or at least so I thought, her father stepped over the line and in a brief instant the engagement, and the relationship, ended. In the process, my father became ill and had a severe heart attack. Two surgeries later, he wound up in the ICU and spent three months recuperating there. Finally, in November, he was discharged, and as of this writing, he is increasingly more like himself. In the interest of our desire to put all of that -- the relationship, the dysfunction and his medical problems -- behind us, we don't often discuss it anymore. We spent the better part of August through November doing so, and now that he has returned to form we hope we never experience anything more repulsive, sickening or awful than we did during those three months. Personally, I know the unfortunate lessons I learned over those three months (and the couple years prior thereto) will help me see things -- and people -- with far more focused clarity.
So tomorrow's festivities -- whatever we opt to do -- will likely be relatively restrained and subdued. But the fact that we are celebrating -- together, as a family -- is and has been something I've celebrated since November and before. And as much as I have been amazed by and been aghast at the lamentable, pathetic dysfunction which defines others' lives, I realized then, and continue to realize, how lucky I am to have my family, my other half and the friends I have amassed, not merely over the past year but throughout the course of my life.
Given that context, and my relationship with my other half (and her father, who has restored my faith in people less than a year after it was, rightfully, questioned), things are good. A friend of mine and I were recently talking about the past, present and future, and as we discussed how I've been e-mailing back and forth with Kaia's dad -- who is such a great, menschy guy -- and we both marveled at the disparity -- like night and day -- of the difference of only one year. So between my Dad, who manages to make me smile on a daily basis, and her father, who never fails to remind me how lucky I am his "predecessor" had such serious problems, regularly leaves me shaking my head in relief.
His being a maniacal Yankee fan like my father and I doesn't hurt either :-)
And as if on cue, Derek Jeter hit his first career grand slam. As they say: timing is everything.
Tomorrow, thankfully, is not a day of reckoning, but one of reflection, relief and renewal. I am, admittedly, very fortunate to have learned by experience the value of acknowledging these days, and the people that matter most, before being forced to forfeit the opportunity to do so. And that in and of itself is worthy of, and a call for, celebration.
Happy Father's Day.