By Karen Malone Wright
It’s almost Father’s Day 2017, and if there’s a NotDad in your life, I’m wondering what the holiday experience is for him. It’s folly to even think about comparing Mother’s Day hype to the usual Father’s Day offerings of tools, grills and #1 Dad beer steins.
If the world’s researchers are only now beginning to look into the niche of childless and childfree women, NotDads are on the burner way behind the back burner. Result? Assumptions come easy.
I know two things for sure: In my house, Father’s Day is…another day. Early in our almost 24-year marriage, I gave my husband a “From the Cat” card. He liked it, but it was clear he thought I’d wasted $3.00.
He and I both had divorced parents, and even with stepfathers, Father’s Day was never a thing in childhood,. It was never a thing, period. For him, it isn’t that melancholy thoughts of “What if?” never scurry across his brain. But, they don’t happen when the calendar provokes them.
The core truth is that little boys aren’t trained to yearn to be a dad. Being told that “You’ll be a good father one day”, or shown how to be one, fails to counter the gift of a baby doll and its accessories to a three-year-old girl. Seriously. I got a Betsy Wetsy doll on my fourth birthday and I swear I still remember my joy the first time I gave her a “bottle” and she wet her “diaper”.
That doll’s TV commercial teased girls with “you can be a mommy, too!” Did G.I. Joe ever once talk about being a Dad?
Interesting but not surprising: A holiday to honor fathers has existed on the planet since the Middle Ages. In Britain, Mother’s Day did, too, and both celebrations were structures of the Church. In America, Mother’s Day didn’t exist until the 20th Century when it was started by a childless woman.
In 2017, when a NotDad goes home to celebrate his own Dad on Father’s Day, is there family boundary-crossing with questions about when he’s going to be a father?
When he goes to the store on the Saturday before the holiday for a six-pack, is he handed a white carnation and wished a “Happy Father’s Day”?
Or, is he internally thinking thoughts about his life, and his legacy without children? And does he share those thoughts with you?
We really want to know. What does Father’s Day mean to your favorite man without children?