Getting Together for Father’s Day
As a far-away-living daughter I never gave much thought to being with Dad on Father’s Day. Didn’t mean I didn’t want to be with him. It just was impractical. In addition–
- Mother was alive for all but 4 Father’s Days so my parents and brother celebrated the day together, often with relatives on my father’s side of the family.
- After Mother died, my father spent Father’s Day with my brother. They had a ritual of going out to breakfast together at the Hilton Hotel many Sunday mornings; Father’s Day was no exception–except that they also went to an older cousin’s for dinner. She considered my father like a father, not an uncle. Her father died when she was young and my dad stepped in where he was needed to help his sister and her two daughters (one being this cousin).
It never occurred to me to check whether or not this was convenient for my brother–he never complained; I thought he enjoyed it. Nevertheless having heard Francine Russo, author of the recently-published They’re Your Parents Too!, discuss her book at a gathering two weeks ago, I found myself having questions–questions about how my brother felt about being the child who was there and my being so far away, even though I assumed major responsibility for orchestrating my parents’ care with them as they grew old. So I telephoned today to check out the Father’s Day “obligation” and was glad to find my perception was correct.
Fortunately my counseling training kicked in well over a decade before my parents had health issues. In my head I had loosely carved out a plan of action for when the time came. Why? Because aging grand-parent issues, that affected some of my counselees’ families and found their way to my office, provided a “heads up.”
Father’s Day and other major holidays signal family togetherness. Adult brothers and sisters and their families join aging parents to celebrate on these occasions. Their adult lives may be different from the life of their youth, their competencies may have changed, but on these holidays the family members who come together fulfill most aging parents’ wishes. Remember: time with family is the gift most older parents say “means the most,” so it can’t help but contribute to helping parents age well.