Sunday will be my first official father’s day and I’m really looking forward to it but I’m quite sure it will be the only one I’ll ever look upon as important, writes Ben Keenan.
I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, far from it. If I’m fortunate enough to receive a card from my boy each year, I will cherish it deeply and add them to the already groaning box of keepsakes Jen and I have collected since we brought him home. The fact is that most dads, myself included, get off lightly compared to the multitude of unbelievably hardworking mums out there who deserve their special allocated day in March so much more than we do. This tribute to dads is a relatively new celebration on the calendar, the first example of which occurred in 1910 in Spokane, Washington DC. The wonderfully named Sonora Smart invented it when her single-parent father, William Jackson Smart, and her six siblings attended a mother’s day service at their local church in 1909 and decided that their inspirational powerhouse of a dad deserved to be recognised and honoured in a similar fashion. Since that day, most countries on the planet celebrate the third Sunday in June as father’s day with cards, double helpings of bacon and man-inspired gifts.
My issue with this is that I am one of the luckiest men on Earth thanks to the minute-by-minute wonder that is my son. The fact that he laughs uncontrollably out loud when I blow raspberry’s on his legs makes my heart do Olympic-standard backflips. The look of joy when I put his hands in mine and we practise air-drumming to our favourite songs puts a spring in my step that could clear a hedge. The moment he wakes up and starts chatting with his stuffed animals is the world’s most priceless alarm clock and has me leaping out of bed to join in the conversation. It’s more than enough for me to be Tom’s dad because when I stare into his beautiful face and he reaches out to grab my beard with both hands, it’s father’s day 365 days a year in my heart.