Father’s Day

Mother, mother

There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother, brother

There’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today

–Marvin Gaye

While I have had the gift of not one but two fathers in my life, and still have the world’s best stepfather to look out for me, today I can’t help thinking about other people.

The fathers and mothers who have been separated from their children by our own government or by some other regime’s political or military hell storms. Children forever damaged without any reason but dogma. Religious, social or political whims. To meet a warped  agenda put in place by the ruling class to appease the biases of their followers. Or to attract new followers.

I think of all of the parents who have lost their children to prison or substance abuse. The children who have been abandoned either physically or emotionally by their addicted parents.

I think of the parents of children who have been killed in our nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Or the children who lose their parents to that same violence. To the parents of the children guilty of perpetrating those monstrosities.

I think of the parents of military men and women who lose their children in the defense of our country of of their own countries. Or the children who lose their fathers and mothers to that same violence.

Or, the parents and children who lose their loved ones as victims of those same wars.

We are–all of us–children, parents, or both. We all lose people we love in some way. Today, I think of all of my friends and family who have lost either parents or children.

I’m saying this badly, I know. But right now, when babies are being taken away from their mothers who are just trying to cross a border into a better life, when a father was so devastated by the loss of his children that he ended his own life…it’s hard to celebrate a Hallmark holiday.

At the park today, I walked and watched all the happy fathers teaching their kids how to ride bikes. The happy kids yelling “watch me, Daddy” while they did handstands. The tired dads carrying their hot, cranky babies back to the car. It was all wonderful to see. Safe, happy people. Taking care of their families. Making memories.

And it could become an entirely different life in the blink of an eye.

Be good to each other.

Be kind to people who have less than you do.

Show empathy to people who’ve suffered losses.

There is a phrase that’s been mocked. It has become something of a joke. But in times like these, I think of what Rodney King said during the riots sparked by the lack of justice in his court case against the officers who’d beaten him: “..can we all get along? Can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?”

Can we? Can we all get along? Can we stop killing each other? Can we stop making life worse for each other? There are enough inevitable reasons for sorrow in life without inflicting more of it in the name of, ultimately, having more stuff. Can we work on making things better instead of making poor people’s lives worse?

We should celebrate every day that we have each other, because life is short and fragile. Those of us who have people do love need to make sure they know it.

Now.

Not just on their designated calendar day.

Still. It *is* Father’s Day, so I can’t forget to mention the stepfather I am lucky enough to still have in my life. It isn’t all gloom and doom. We have people here and now who we love!

Larry is the tough guy from Burns who cries at weddings. Who always made sure I had a working flashlight in my car in case of emergencies. Who has been wonderful to my mother, and to both me and my brother. Who has traveled the whole world. Who loves to talk about marijuana growing with my friends even though he doesn’t smoke it himself. Who love the Ducks.  Who makes sure the sprinkler system is perfect. Who talks to cats, and misses his two cats terribly. Who makes sure that I have a safe car to drive. Who loves his family.

We love him back.

Little L wants you to have a Bloody Mary