Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads, Grandfathers, and fathers-to-be.

I’m not one who is enamored of artificially constructed holidays.  Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are nice, I suppose; but I’ve always stubbornly held to the opinion that one day a year is not often enough to acknowledge all the things our parents have done for us.  Still, marking the day does serve the purpose of eliciting memories of times with Dad; so if you will indulge me, I will take a little trip down memory lane.

I can’t pinpoint my first awareness of my Dad, because he was always there for as long as I can remember.  Early memories are sensory ones — rough, whiskery kisses when I crawled into bed with him and mom at the start of the day; the fresh aroma of Aqua Velva when he tap-danced into the kitchen each morning; the smell of the obligatory 1950’s cocktail on his breath as he tucked me in and kissed me goodnight;  the reassuring sound of his snoring from his room down the hall if I awoke at night.

I remember him — in topcoat and fedora, pulling on huge rubber boots and sitting behind my little sister as they rode the sled down the snowy hill in winter; standing shining and white on the beach in summer, sporting his two-tone golfer’s tan as he joined us in jumping the waves; in his spit-polished oxfords and freshly-ironed shirt, fussing over the knot in his necktie before leaving for work in the morning.  I remember the way he danced Mom around the living room before they would leave for a dinner date — and the way he would do a couple of turns with each of his girls, just to make us feel a part of it all.  I remember how he would decide one day to just stop everything and pull out the camera.  “Sit right there…now look over here…no, don’t look right at me…look a little to the side.”  You would have thought he was doing a photo shoot with some celebrity; and I remember thinking how pretty I must be, although I would act embarrassed and roll my eyes.

I remember him walking down the aisle with my youngest sister, both of them sniffling and trying to ignore the tears that welled up in their eyes and trickled down their faces.  I remember his pride as he held his first grandson, and it never faded as the numbers grew.  I remember the sound of his voice on the telephone the day my son died and I had to call and share the awful news.

Dad is older now, and he still creates memories that I will undoubtedly share at some time in the future.  Perhaps I am not a big fan of Father’s Day because one day of treating fathers like super-heroes simply doesn’t capture the less-super things that we carry in our memories and in our hearts.  I don’t remember a single Father’s Day celebration, but I remember all the small events that have made up my Dad’s super life.

Three of my sons are now fathers, and I’m here today to tell them this:  stand tall, walk with love, and be assured of one thing — your kids are watching, and they will remember.