Dad and the Summer Solstice

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To be honest, I don’t think my dad has any connection to the summer solstice. He isn’t one to take note of such days. He’s a quiet Catholic. He never talks about his beliefs and hasn’t been to mass in 40 years. About ten years ago, I saw that he’d sent a check to the Church we went to when I was little. (The photo above looks like it might’ve been taken on a Sunday. He only dressed like that for mass or for dates.) If he still gives money to St. Joseph’s, he keeps it to himself.

But Dad introduced me to witches. When I was very little, he told me the abandoned house, set back among moss-covered trees, belonged to a witch. I did and didn’t believe him, but Dad convinced me the overgrown shack meant magic wandered through shadowy, humid woods. He also read me fairytales, sat with me while I watched The Wizard of Oz, and told me tall tales of impossible, weird things.

Which is not to suggest my childhood was a magical time. Much of it sent me running deep into books and imagining wardrobes and other pathways to secret lands.

Happy Father’s Day on this longest day of the year.

Whoever your father was or failed to be. Whatever gifts or traumas he gave you. Perhaps the thought of him fills you with happiness or rage. I knew someone who celebrated that her father was dead. Not all fathers should be honored with applause or honors on any day.

But perhaps you found another father, someone to fill that role, however you define it.

Maybe you’re a dad, a step-dad, a foster dad, an adoptive dad, a dad for this period of time that you’re needed.

Maybe you’re a grieving dad or soon-to-be dad.

My condolences to you who’ve lost their dad.

What does it even mean to be a dad?

Some believe midsummer is the season for pranks. That’s a stereotypically dad thing, isn’t it? My dad used to tell me he found me in a giant egg in the woods or that he was so old, he’d known Abraham Lincoln. Long live dad jokes.

Happy Father’s Day to the bright and shining dads out there, whether or not they still walk beside us or lift us up, smiling into the sun.


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