I got to spend Father's Day with both my husband and my dad this year. I don't know if that's ever happened before. My dad's been staying with us for the past couple of weeks while my mom has been on a trip. He worries that he's a burden since he needs help getting around and we have to keep track of his medication, etc., but he's not a burden; he's my dad.
I feel bad that I haven't been able to get him out to a bookstore yet like he wanted, but the only day I had free from work the weather made it too complicated. (Dealing with a walker and an umbrella while trying to cope with parking on the East Side was more than I felt I could handle.) Other than that it's been a good visit with lots of Scrabble playing.
The highlight for me was having both Ian and dad at my concert on Sunday. I play so many concerts I know my dad would enjoy that he can't be here for, and from my end there's nothing like having someone you love in the audience. This weekend the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra had a Father's Day concert in a beautiful church up near the university. The building had real Tiffany stained glass windows and the acoustics were amazing--no need for mics which was great.
The first half of the concert was our artistic director, Rene Izquierdo, on solo guitar, which is always wonderful, and the second half was the orchestra. We did a nice assortment of tunes, from Classical pieces to Irish songs to Tin Pan Alley standbys.... It wasn't perfect, but parts of it were better than we've ever sounded, and I was so happy my dad could be there.
When I went to meet him at the end of our performance he told me he was so proud, and he got a little weepy, which meant it took a lot to keep myself from getting weepy. It was about as good a Father's Day moment as one could ask for.
But what I think of as an important Father's Day moment for Ian actually happened a couple of months ago.
We struggled for a while with Ian and Quinn connecting after the deployments. Ian was gone for the first eight months of Quinn's life, and it was hard convincing a baby who was used to having me all the time that this man he didn't know was an acceptable substitute. Then just as Quinn was getting used to his dad, Ian was deployed again. The adjustment to having Ian home the second time was much harder. Quinn was cold to his dad, and you can't force love. Ian was incredibly kind and patient with his son. It broke my heart to watch Ian being rejected time and time again by this little person he loved so dearly.
Over time memories of the deployments have faded. Aden still remembers them, but Mona only vaguely, and Quinn not at all. For a long time Quinn's resentment of his father's reintegrated presence seemed formed purely out of habit. As Ian's consistent patience and love became a stable factor in our home I think it became harder and harder for Quinn to justify his emotional distance. It was out of step with his sisters and not logical. (And Quinn is nothing if not logical.) It took longer than I would have liked for him to start uttering the phrase, "I love you, dad" but it did happen. And now it's assumed.
In New York over Spring Break we visited a hands-on art space for kids and Quinn made me this:
almost take for granted.
But then Quinn also made this:
And love is definitely something better.