18 June 2008

Father's Day

About a week ago, I was chatting on the phone with my mom, asking about upcoming weekend plans, and she said something along the lines of, "blah blah Father's Day blah blah blah." 

"Oh, yeah," I replied. "Father's Day. I didn't even realize that it was this weekend. I'm kind of glad I didn't know, but I guess I should get some cards in the mail."
"Yes! You need to get on that!" said my mom. Well, I'm not sure that's exactly what she said, but it was something like that.
"I know, I know, but Father's Day is hard for me. I need to think about this."

We changed the subject and moved on, but the conversation stung. The content hurt, as did the sudden knowledge that another Big Date loomed large, another day on which to miss John more, feel his absence more acutely. My mom apologized the next day for not being as sensitive as she could have been, which was nice. I could not, however, ignore the knowledge that I had gained about the significance of the coming Sunday.

I did get cards sent out. Whew. That was the easy thing. Figuring out what to do on the day was much harder. For once, the twins and I had basically nothing planned for the weekend, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep things low-key or schedule things to take my mind off of who wasn't there. As if I could take my mind off of who wasn't there. Yeah, sure, right.

In the end, I did a mix of both. We got up on the later side on Sunday (I guess that was my Father's Day gift from the babies) and had breakfast. Then we did our Significant Thing. A friend had given Maddie and Riley kits for making their own plates. The kids draw a picture on paper that is provided, then you mail the picture in and it is transferred to a plate. You can add a message around the edge of the plate, too. The twins are really getting into drawing lately, so I set them up at the table and said, "Let's draw pictures for Daddy!" They each drew a half-dozen pictures or so, and I chose the ones I liked best to be transferred to the plates. Their new dishware will say, "Maddie [Riley] loves you, Daddy!" on the top and "Father's Day 2008" on the bottom. Perhaps this will be the start of an art-projects-for-Daddy tradition for us.

After that, it was grocery shopping, lunching, napping, and dinnering with friends. All in all, it was an OK day. Of course, I missed John, but that's the status quo. I tried to remember what we did last year for Father's Day and I have absolutely no recollection; my calendar tells me that we had a lot of friends in town visiting. It seems that last year I just ignored the fact that it was Father's Day and kept myself busy with other things. 

I don't usually get that hung up on the Big Dates. For whatever reason, they mostly seem just like other days to me. The grief waxes and wanes, and sometimes the waxing coincides with a Big Date. Sometimes it doesn't. 

The two exceptions for me are John's birthday (December 7) and Father's Day. I'm not sure why John's birthday is harder for me than, say, his deathiversary day. But it is. The reason that Father's Day is hard is no mystery. Becoming a dad was so important to John, but the only Father's Day he experienced as a parent was when the twins were still in utero. Maddie and Riley will never get to make their dad breakfast in bed on his special day, and will never get to hear his praise for the art projects the do. If their class at school does a Father's Day project, they'll have to deal with explaining where their dad is, or, rather, why he isn't at home. Maddie and Riley aren't unique in this, of course, but that doesn't make it easy. I expect that this is the last year that the twins will be ignorant of what a daddy is and relatively carefree about the fact that theirs is not present.

I haven't thought much (OK, at all) about how I'll explain John's absence to Maddie and Riley, but it's something I need to start considering. For now, they know Mama and Daddy as assigned names, like Susan and Jason. At daycare, when a parent arrives, they will say, "That M's mama!" or "That S's daddy!" because I have provided those labels. That one is a woman and one is a man and that they come in pairs (in one case, "B's Mama" and "B's Other Mama") is, for now, lost on them. But I doubt it will be for much longer. I don't look forward to the time when they gain a realization that a very important someone is missing from their lives. I dread it for them, and for me. I dread it for all of us.

I  have decided to get myself a Father's Day present. 

I can think of no better way to honor my game-loving husband than by getting a gaming system of my own. I'm definitely going to get a Wii and Wii Fit. I have been using the Wii Tracker, and thus far have not been able to get my hands on a console that does not come bundled with games I don't want. Jen is pressuring me to just buy a bundle (console + extra controllers + some number of games), saying that some of the bundled games are good and I'll want the extra controllers anyway. I'm still waffling, but eventually a purchase will be made. Getting the Fit is a whole other ball of wax. All in due time, patience is a virtue, etc. 


Katrina said...

we got our Wii at Walmart, and every time I go in there they are in stock... have you tried there or Target? Costco carries them too if you have a membership.
The Wii always comes with the Wii Sports pack and a remote. =) The sports packs are fun. I especially like the bowling.
hope you find one soon!

My name is Andy. said...

Great post, and I'm glad you are getting yourself something that John would have liked!


Anonymous said...

I'm a single mom also, and Father's Day was harder on me this year than last. Probably because my little girl's daycare class was making gifts for their dads and they had a snack thing with the dads. It made me realize what she'll miss in the future.

On Father's Day, I had a friend come up to me and say, "For what it's worth, happy father's day. I know you're kind of a mom and dad right now and you're doing a great job." I thought that was sweet. So, Happy Father's Day!

amber said...

i'd say you definitely deserve a father's day gift, seeing as how you're filling both roles for the twins. if your husband was a real gamer, i'd bet he'd be thrilled to have played with the wii. :)

i'd echo your friend and say just get a bundle. some of those games that seem meh are actually pretty fun.

WebGal said...

I got my Wii Fit Bundle through Target.com. It's very cool.

Mary Ellen said...

I think the art projects are a lovely idea. I suspect you'll also come up with a way to celebrate John's birthday. (And I don't mean that in a pressure-filled way... like, you better think of something now, girlie! More like, it'll happen and you'll figure it out, one step at a time.)
Have fun with the Wii. (At first I wrote WII, which looks really weird.)

kim said...

WiiTracker worked for us - just put in our Fit order a couple days ago! (The Wii was pure luck; our local Target happened to have some in one day and I couldn't resist.) Anyway, definitely use the cell phone alerts option if you want to be fast enough to place your order before the stock is gone!

Mrs. Grumpy said...

Get Wii! I bought it for our family a couple of weeks ago - and I wasn't so sure... OMG! I wish I did it ages ago. It's fun for all of us, and I especially love the fact that you are up and moving. Watching the 4 year olds play Mario Cart is the best. We haven't all laughed that hard in a long time. I'm on the waiting list for Wii Fit, so hopefully we can get that soon-ish.

You are doing such a great job with your kiddos. Hang in there and enjoy the great NE weather.

The Whitsitt Family said...

We got our Wii fit at Walmart. We called, and they just happened to have two in stock so we raced out to get it. It is fun, and I try to spend a little time on it each day.

AnonaMum said...

In time I suspect the twins will identify a way to honor John on Father's Day that has meaning for them. I love your idea of art projects for him - a lovely way to express themselves.

Cheryl Lage said...

Snick, you get yourself that present! :)

What a lovely post, with your ever-amazing presence of mind...big ups to you.

Ty Huls said...

On Father's Day, one of my friend had come up to me and said that for what it's worth, happy father's day. I know you're having a responsibilities of both mom and dad right now and you're doing a great job. So, Happy Father's Day

Anonymous said...

Not to rain on your parade (SOME parade, right!) but you're probably correct in assuming this is the last father's day they'll be unaware of.

On Sunday, our conversation went like this:

Noa starts with {matter of fact}, "Owen Mommy Daddy, Noa no Daddy, Mommy."
Me: {gulp, think-on-my-feet} "You're right, Owen has a Mommy and a Daddy. What about Caden, does he have a Daddy?"
"Nooooo! Caden Mommy."
"And Max? Does Max have a Daddy?"
"Max has Two Mommies"
"Two Mommy Max."
"What about Bella & Jamieson?"
"Bella Jamesome Mommy Daddy."
"Noa, you have Mommy and Mommy has Noa."
"Noa mommy, mommy Noa."

I told her daycare provider about the conversation on Monday, turns out Owen told Noa "You don't have a Daddy" last week. My guess is it happened while they were preparing for father's day with an art project, I'm not sure.

So - thanks 3-year-old Owen for getting the ball rolling on this life-long conversation!

Good luck Snick.

Anonymous said...

Condolences again -- it makes sense that it's a hard day given what you've described about how important having children was to John.

Also the kidlets might be more aware that their father is not present next year, but I'd guess you've got at least one more year after that before they have a sense of what they are missing and that it is more significant than other kids having a trampoline or something. They are still young enough that their personal experience of family defines what is normal and what they need to be happy, and you seem to be striking a great balance of making sure they know about their dad and that you are all fine as a single parent family.

John Esberg said...

You've certainly given me a moment of pause. My father passed away when I was young. I barely knew him. It probably plays a big part into why I spend so much time with my son. Thank you for share with us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think getting a Wii is sometimes a matter of sheer luck, but where we live they are almost impossible to come by in the stores. I got my Wii Fit through wiialerts.com. They send e-mails and/or text messages when the item you want is available online. Within 24 hours of signing up the Wii Fit was on its way through bestbuy.com.

Wii Sports is a lot of fun. The games are played with Miis, characters that you create yourself. You can make Miis who look like your kids, or John, or whoever. At our house we have Miis for the cat, the deceased goldfish, and several Pokemon.

Katherine said...

We got our Wii by getting the Sunday paper on Sat. and seeing who was advertising them.

You'll probably want another remote. If nothing else, so that the kids don't keep trying to take the one you are using.

Mark said...

As someone in the same situation I share your concern about the explanation you are going to have to craft for your kids. I have no idea how I am going to explain to my son the absence of his mother. My inclination is to speak to a child psychologist and try to get some guidance but whatever the advice the conversation will be hard and the situation beyond suckey. I went through the big event stuff on mothers day. I was really bummed that my inlaws didn't call, but they didn't call 4unday either. Whatever. Grief is an odd bird and people deal with it in very different ways. Take care of yourself.

Sonya said...

It's a wonderful thing to keep John's memory alive. Keeping the memory alive will also keep the love alive and the kids will benefit from it.

My father died 11 years ago. I miss him every day. Death is an enemy, the worst enemy. I look forward to the glorious day when death and sickness will be obliterated forever. Seeing my daddy again as healthy person and giving him a big fat hug will be indescribable. I can close my eyes and literally see and feel it. It helps me cope with missing him.

John will be able to see life again as a healthy person. We have convincing proof that this is true.

OTRgirl said...

I love the art project idea, and that you're getting yourself a "John present" to honor him.

tree town gal said...

oh, snick... what a post. tearfully sending you hugs from the midwest. i wish it were easier...

Christine said...

It's amazing to me what moms will say sometimes in the name of "being honest" or just treating their daughters differently then they'd treat a friend. My mom came over our house last year when I was preggo and not in the mood to do the amount of yardwork I normally do and proceeded to pick apart my yard, telling me all the things that needed to be done. I know she was being helpful, but it really stung both my husband and me, since we really take pride in our yard. I told her so, and she apologized.

On a different note, I'm glad you're doing something nice for yourself. Enjoy your Wii!

Jen said...

hey dude...

delayed reaction given my status yesterday. first.. thanks for linking to me.. big jump in hit count.. yay me! i love mooching off of your popularity.. :)

second.. definitely get the wii.. i figured out how to transfer miis, so we'll be able to get that taken care of and then we'll have wii par-tays! i've got a ton of games that you can try before you buy (like sally wants to give my guitar hero a whirl before making the purchase given that they have real guitars in the house - so do i.. the game still rocks)

ben likes to stand on the wii fit balance board.. it's very cute.. i have some pics to upload.

re: father's day. with ya in terms of knowing the questions/concerns are coming. we talk about ben's donor dad all the time, but that doesn't change the fact that we don't have a name or a picture.. we just know that he wanted to help families like ours and that ben has half-siblings out there. we donate to the march of dimes for father's day.. but will probably start to do something more hands on as ben grows.. and i think we're going to focus harder on his grandfathers.. but regardless it's still hard knowing that school is looming and while he won't be the only child who doesn't live with a father.. it'll still bite. my parents were divorced and i had two sets.. and it still bit.

btw.. watched SYTYCD last night.. actually enjoyed it. had a good night w/ both little guys.. stayed up late and am tired this morning but looking forward to ixtapa (and starting at 5:30ish sounds good.. i have to get ben by 5:30.. so it's just a matter of driving from ruth's to ixtapa then.. shiela may or may not join)

Mandy said...

I think the making plates for daddy is the sweetest thing ever. Father's day is hard in our house too. My three girls' dad didn't pass away, he just went away and never came back. The questions always come up on Father's Day more than any other day and it is very hard. I think buying yourself a father's day present is a great idea. Maybe I should try that!

Mama Nabi said...


mek said...

I love the "art projects for Daddy" idea - the idea that just because Daddy isn't "there" doesn't mean you can't still make something for him. Maybe this idea will carry them through some of those big dates.

You probably know these already, the Todd Parr books, especially The Family Book - I got it from the library in hopes of expanding Cora's definition of "family" - or at least her awareness. Is it working? Who knows! But, she loves his wacky illustrations.

Lara said...

Amazon is where I got mine without extra games. If you get them packaged with games, make sure you want the games, because the packages are minimal or no savings... it's mostly a way they get rid of games that don't sell so well!

As for wiitracker site, if you watch the history, you can see about what time the sites get shipments available. I found that 10-11 am was the big time when I used the site.

Good luck! can't wait to hear how you like the Wii fit... it sounds fascinating.