Father’s Day From the Product of Single-Parenthood

Its father’s day. And while everyone is off celebrating the great dad or dads in their life, I dove head first into a marathon of the third season of Orange is the New Black.

Somewhere around episode six, while admiring Ruby Rose, I got an email from Hallmark. They wanted me to send my dad a card of celebration. I hit the delete button after watching the silly animation.

I’m the product of a single-parent. My mom raised me since day one in the house that she built. She provided for us both via her small business. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have a parent who has been such a formative figure in my life. And I’m probably not alone when it comes to having a single-parent be the biggest influence.

I take all wishes of “Happy Father’s Day” like a grain of salt. That’s been true since preschool or kindergarten when we’d make cards or macaroni art to pass to our dads on the upcoming Sunday.

My dad and I didn’t start talking until I was twenty-one. And since then our relationship hasn’t really changed.

I spent over twenty years of my life without a father. There wasn’t anyone for me to wish a “Happy Father’s Day” to. No one that made a very large impact. I had uncles around, but I didn’t get the lessons from them that I suppose a daughter would receive from her father.

We celebrated in our own way. My mom and I would make a grand dinner. Steak or ribs, maybe our family recipe of marinated fried chicken, rice, salad, and ice cream for dessert. We would plan meticulously for ourselves. After church we’d head home and have a late lunch/early dinner.

It was how we treated ourselves. Similar to Mother’s Day or my mom’s birthday, I usually found something to give her. This item tended to be some object she had spied at the hardware store for our garden.

We were two peas in a pod. And we couldn’t be happier with our relationship now.

For the most part, Father’s Day is just another Sunday.

Mother’s Day

It was around this time two years ago that I committed to moving across the country for university. My last quarter at the community college I attended was over, my deposit was in, and I was figuring out how long my shifts needed to be so I could save money.

My mom and I have spent two years mostly apart. I return to Seattle during winter break for two and a half weeks. Its when I visit friends, have doctors appointments, and hang out with my family.

I’m 3,000 miles from my mom on Mother’s day, which occasionally aligns with her birthday. And in the two years I’ve been away, I’ve managed to figure out ways to celebrate with her.

My first Mother’s Day away from my mom, we talked on FaceTime for a few hours while I hung out in the quiet of the residence hall I lived in over the summer. The iPhone I talked on changed hands through the family before finally we said our goodbyes. I sent my mom a card with a gift card inside, and a message for how much I loved her.

When I was home last Christmas, I gave her an iPod touch, taught her how to use it, and showed her that we could FaceTime on it so that she could sit on the couch comfortably instead of at the computer for Skype. This has changed everything. My mom texts me when she wants to talk, sends me pictures of our beagle, and we FaceTime once or twice a week depending on our schedules.

I’ve found it to be a lot of fun to send her items I’ve collected over my time here. School sweats (they’re super soft!), Peanuts Holiday Collection (its a book), some small electronics I know she was looking for, and a few other odds and ends. I added a card with a poem (it was for her birthday), and a gift card to her favorite restaurant.

Today, my mom is probably hanging out with her mom. I’d guess they attended the pancake breakfast my mom’s church puts on, and then went out to have sushi after the late service.

I feel bad that I’m across the country from her. We only see each other through a camera, or for 2.5 weeks out of 52.

My mom is awesome, and I could probably write a much better essay about her. She’s my cheerleader, and my hero. I hope she has a wonderful day doing whatever she wants to do.