A co-worker told me an old Irish proverb yesterday. He said you don't become a man until your father dies. I don't think I can agree with that. I can think of many occasions that might have marked my entry into manhood. My Bar-Mitzvah. My wedding day. The birth of my first child. Graduating Medical School. Buying my first new car. But my father's death...that diminishes me.
But I might be able to apply his proverb more readily to Father's Day. Despite being a father for more than seventeen years, I've never felt that I was the object of Father's Day. Father's Day was the day when I called my Dad, not the other way around. My wife or my kids might wish me a happy Father's Day, but frankly I never felt that it applied to me. But to my Dad, it was everything. He looked forward to it, and to the cards we would make for him. They're all still at the house.
So my role in Father's Day has always been more of a conduit. Channeling the accolades up the chain to my own father.
Except now he's gone. This is the first year I won't be wishing him a Happy Father's Day. And now, suddenly, I'm up on the top of the chain. There's no one above me. I'm the oldest living patriarch in this family. So I guess it's time to face the other way.
It's time to be a man.