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Fathers Day Dilemma: Spend it with Your Dad, or the Dad of Your Kids?

Dads

The two most important men in my life

My family historically picks and chooses which holidays to blow up. Thanksgiving? Big deal. Fourth of July? Not so much.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were big ones in my house growing up. My sister and I would prepare in a big way to celebrate each parent on his and her special days, and both parents would help plan for us to fête the other.

The excitement of prepping a special day for our parents made us tingle with anticipation. From the homemade cards, breakfast in bed and extra special gifts that, looking back, were more kitsch than keepsakes — the days couldn’t come around fast enough each year. It was about expressing supersize love on at least one day because we somehow took for granted on every other day that they silently obliged when we each demanded (and received) things like special order lunches or being schlepped to our ninth activities of the afternoon.

But then I went and moved 2,000 miles from my family a few years back. And when it comes time to plan trips to see my parents, revolving them around Father’s Day is hard. Because it’s really not as big as, say, Thanksgiving. And when I go see them I bring my daughter, which would mean I would be leaving my husband without his daughter on a day to celebrate him. My husband comes with me as much as he can to see my family, but his work schedule doesn’t allow as much flexibility as mine does.

With some distance from my childhood, I look at holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and even my birthday with more of a critical eye. It’s nice to be acknowledged, but more often than not now I feel like we should be doing that on a daily basis anyway.

At least I’m OK with not being celebrated ad nauseum on days that are about me. But when it comes to my dad and my husband, I want to shout from the rooftops how much they mean to me and think they deserve a month in their honor, not just a Sunday in June.

Regardless, when it came time to plan my trip to see my parents for next month, I’ll be leaving on an airplane a few days after Father’s Day. It’s not exactly like I’m choosing my husband over my dad, but I’m choosing to let my daughter be with her dad. And I’ll be with mine a few days later. All will be well, but it would be more well if we were all just in one place.

Are you big on Father’s Day? Are you able to spend it with your entire family, or do you have to choose which father is celebrated?

Image: Meredith Carroll

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