Fatherless Day

Today is Father’s Day. Normally a day for celebration and much eating of rich food in this house. Indeed, I would normally go and bake a soda bread, or perhaps some scones.

Not today. The reason is simple – work.

My dad doesn’t get a chance to do overtime all that often. In fact, it hardly ever happens. But finances are so tight in this house that when he does, he grabs the opportunity.

So, instead of this morning being a nice relaxing family gathering, with the gifting of cards and – for this year, anyway – some very good presents, instead the whole thing will have to be delayed till this evening.

Bit of a shame really – though I suppose I am fortunate that my dad will still be here anyway. Others, for whatever reason, have nothing to celebrate today.

Father’s Day is much lower in our society’s priorities. You can say what you like about anti-female sexism of the past, but, let’s face it, the Christian calendar on which Britain’s secular society is mostly based only has room for a Mothering Sunday, but not a male equivalent. We only invented Father’s day to bring in a bit of balance, but mostly to make some money for the greetings card business.

I also know this having worked in a card shop. Mother’s Day was almost as big as Christmas. Father’s Day was about half the size. That’s quite some signficant gap.

Is it because fathers are just objectively not as good as mothers? Or is it because there are fewer fathers worth praising? Knowing my dad, and knowing what a good one he is, I’d have to reject the former. But I think the latter must definitely be true. We hear so many stories about absent fathers that it feeds into a certain sense that not everyone has a dad worth bothering over.

Meanwhile, my dad is toiling away this morning in work, trying to earn our family some more money. Money that just gets spent on clothes, food, etc. He finds that extremely disheartening, when he looks at his online banking only to see the money just draining away. Occasionally he gets to put £50 in his savings account. Otherwise, it’s like a huge hole at the bottom of the bucket. Not so much a drip-drip, but a floody-floody.

But I appreciate it. One day I may even be able to earn enough money to contribute to living here (how many times have I said that?) so that he doesn’t feel the pinch so much. That would mean a lot, I know. It might also alleviate my guilty, scrounging conscience.

He does a lot for us, and asks for almost nothing in return. I don’t yet think my brothers and sister realise it. In truth, it’s one of those things I think you only come to appreciate by living away from home for a while; when you begin to appreciate the task of how to run an independent existence.

I’ll just have to make up for the lack of baking this morning by making some muffins later. I suspect he’ll enjoy that.

Thanks, Dad.

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