Sunday, 21 June 2009

(Grand) Father's Day

Father's Day is a day for honouring fathers and forefathers and is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in fifty-two of the World's countries. The concept is an American invention of course and the story goes that a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, was attending a Mother's Day service in 1909 when she started thinking about her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who brought up six children alone and she felt that he needed some parenting recognition as well. The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on July 5th 1910 in a church located in West Virginia, in the USA, by Dr. Robert Webb at the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South of Fairmont.

It took many years to make the holiday official and in spite of support from the churches it took many years to be taken as seriously as Mother’s Day and ran the risk of disappearing from the calendar altogether. Where Mother's Day was always celebrated with enthusiasm, Father's Day was met with some degree of scepticism. To get it taken seriously a bill was introduced to Congress in 1913, in 1924 US President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea at the highest level and a national committee was formed in the 1930s by various trade groups in order to promote the day. It was made a federal holiday when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation in 1966 and in 1972 President Richard Nixon established Father's Day as a permanent national day of observance on the third Sunday of June.

The trouble with having a holiday on a Sunday is that it isn’t much of a holiday at all. There is no day off work and there are still all of the traditional chores to do like cleaning the car and mowing the lawn. Some countries however have a much better arrangement and actually get a real days holiday. In the Roman Catholic tradition, especially in Italy, Spain and Portugal, Fathers are celebrated on Saint Joseph's Day, on March 19th and when this falls on a week day there is a real day off work. I didn’t know this until this year I was in Cuenca in Spain on March 19th and was surprised to see so many families out for the day and when I asked why I was told about Saint Joseph’s Day.

Annoyed by being cheated out of a day off work this year I took a days leave anyway and extended my personal Father’s Day to a full weekend. On Friday I played golf with Jonathan and as he hadn’t played for two months started the day quietly confident of victory. It wasn’t to be of course and when he started with three straight pars I knew that I was going to be buying the beers at the end of the round. He finished with an excellent 76, which destroyed my 87, which, for me, was a pretty good score. This was his second shot in to the par four fifth and he got the birdy putt of course.

This year for me, Father’s Day, was an even more special event because this was the first time that I have been the proud recipient of a Grandad’s card from Molly to go with my two usual cards from Sally and Jonathan.

Molly is growing quickly and there is a rapid rate of progress. Not content with crawling she is impatient to walk and she spends a lot of time standing next to furniture and practicing balancing and standing on her own two feet. She has made a number of tentative attempts at a step but these have always ended in a tumble and she has to start all over again. She can manage a few steps with the help of a push along lion and because she is a determined little girl it won’t be very long before she achieves that first proper step.

Recently we have reached that development milestone that occurs with all babies at some time or another. Until recently it was all encouragement and support, you know the sort of thing: “come on Molly, you can do it”,let’s see how you crawl” and so on but now that she can do it there is quite a lot of no Molly don’t do this and don’t do that, “don’t crawl behind the TV and play with the cables”,don’t pull the cats tail, he won’t like it” etcetera. And I had forgotten this but you do need eyes in the back of your head because she can move about with great speed and has a rapidly developing zeal for exploration.

She now has more teeth and as Sally discovered yesterday can deliver a painful little bite, she is eating proper food and especially enjoys a sweet juicy orange. She has more hair, which his coming through nice and blonde and she is experimenting with conversation and a range of expressions and different sounds. She has alternative ways of communicating with different people, Grandma gets a high-five wave, Sally gets the oohs and ahs and for some reason I always get the raspberry sound. I think she must have worked out already exactly what grandads are for.

Here is my first Grandad’s card and after I have taken it down in a week or so it is going straight into the ‘Memory Box’!

1 comment:

Funnyface said...

Hello Andrew
Lovely post - sounds like you had the perfect weekend.