Father’s Day isn’t a celebration for everyone. It can be challenging to either join in or ignore the holiday called Father’s Day if you experienced any of the following with a father or father figure; difficult, distant, absent or challenging fathers, or abusive, lost, mentally disordered, unloving or rageful fathers.
The imprint of challenging fathers calls for a lifetime of integration, and I decided to create a new holiday tradition, and I’m calling it Furthers Day. It’s all about how many fathers further great things, and how you can carry that furthering further, even if there are, or were, challenging aspects of your relationship.
For all the wonderfull fathers who furthered someone or something, THANK you.
My dad did a lot of fabulous furthering, and we were also challenged by the difficulties of relating to, and loving each other.
I went further because of the challenges of our relationship. When I told him I was going to be an author and write books for the world, he sarcastically said, “Dream on, kid!”
And so I did.
When he was absent so much of my childhood, I learned better how to love myself.
When he couldn’t express or share his feelings, I created innovative ways to feel and express mine and help others to do that too.
And my dad helped me to further so many good things in my life. From him helping me ride my first bike, to later in my life supporting my ideas and dreams, I always felt his love, and I went further because of that love, and I believe that he did too.
Did you have a father or father figure who helped you go further? I’ll love to know~
My father furthered my love of myself and belief in partnership by my witnessing his 46 year marriage to my mother, and he was so often the “secret investor” behind the scenes, when I would be starting a new project. His reticence to show his love furthered my insistence that we speak of our love, and show it too.
I shared this quote with him after we cleared up so many grudges and withholdings of love, and I feel it still for him, myself and so many others.
This is the primary way I learned to further love my dad, after he physically departed in 1996.
“And throughout all eternity, I forgive you, you forgive me”
When my dad was still alive, he asked me to write a poster for all the dads, after I’d written one for Moms. I wrote this and published it in my book Succulent Wild Woman.
I do want to add a note here about forgiveness. I do not believe it’s necessary to forgive, in order to love. I also believe that some people rush to forgive as a form of spiritual bypassing to avoid feeling all the feelings first. Forgiveness happens over time, and in layers, as we disentangle from embodied memories and experiences we had.
Here’s to going further with it all.
How To Forgive Your Father
I’m not daddy’s little girl.
I’m a mountain lion in a skirt with prayers in my heart.
When I asked my dad what he wanted in a “dream daughter,” he said, “I wanted a daughter who would wear an apron and make soup from a ham bone.”
I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t cook.
My “fantasy father” would be super literary and work at home.
My father was a traveling salesman who struggled with spelling.
When I was 4, my dad’s head was as big as the world! I rode on his shoulders, clasping his forehead with my tiny hands and laughing as we ran through the grass.
Together we were taller than God.
My dad held my red Schwinn bike as I balanced my first solo trip, and ran alongside before letting me go to pedal into a new world.
My dad always got mad at dinner and I thought it was because of me so I sat up straight and tried to do it all perfect and he still yelled.
His dad got mad at dinner too.
I finally learned that when I could show softness, my dad could show support. I wish I’d had more time to be with him.
I remember whisker rubs and “serious talks” and standing on his feet to dance around the kitchen.
He tied my ice skates double-tight, and there was always love- large and raw and imperfect.
When I prowl through all the prayers in my heart, and in certain photographs in a special kind of light, I can see my dad’s face inside my own, saying “Stick with me kid!”
I know now that he loves me in his language– that the past stuff is just fog on the mirror- that the little girl inside never stopped loving him.
She feels the love and forgives the pain.
Hey dad! I’ll love you forever you know.
In memory of Arthur James Kennedy- my dad.