Hallmark Holidays: Celebration or Bad Memories?


Our culture has created the expectation of Hallmark holidays like Father’s Day, yet from doing body centered counseling I know that families are seldom greeting-card perfect and that this annual ritual, just like many others, can bring up a lot for people, from ecstasy and fun BBQ’s to the scratching of old wounds.

Father’s Day, like other holidays, also reflects how much society and roles have changed. The Pew Institute released new data this week showing that more than a quarter of American fathers live apart from their kids. The Denver Post wrote this week about the increasing challenges and diversifying roles that fathers inhabit in today’s modern society, offering statistics that to some may seem staggering:  nearly one half of the country’s fathers under age 45 state that they have had at least one child out of wedlock.  The percentage of fathers living separately from their children is nearly double what it was just a few years ago.  In the Evolution of Dad, a documentary, filmmaker Dana Glazer explores what it means to be a dad today. The modern dad has evolved from the sometimes-absent breadwinner to the increasingly common stay-at-home dad.

So as times evolve, and since every change offers us growth and more self awareness, I am inspired to start a forum to share what Father’s Day means for you, what memories it brings forth, and how you may or may not be honoring it this year.

To get the ball rolling, for me it is a trifecta ( 3 events in one),  this year. First, I feel a sense of sadness that my dad is not here to celebrate with me, and I miss my annual shopping venture to buy him his new walking track suit that he always looked forward to receiving.

Along with that, since 1976 Father’s Day has been my favorite holiday as I get to do something special with my son, get acknowledged by a great letter from him and thank God for giving me the greatest gift I have ever received.

And this year, I get to see my son also get celebrated as a dad, since Eleanor Marin Sisgold was born this year. My heart cracked open when my son was born and I learned what true unconditional love was.  And this year Father’s Day is all about enjoying how loving he is to Eleanor and feeling rushes and heart pulses all over when she smiles at her “G Pa” (my rap G thing , paternal self-given name).

What about you?

This may be your first Father’s Day to be celebrated if you are a new dad, or if you are a new mom celebrating your child’s father. It may be an occasion to reunite with your family or it may be a neon sign reminder of not such great memories of your dad or grandfather.

Whatever this tradition brings forth for you, I look forward to reading your comments.

To all dads and granddads, many blessings.