Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bloomsday/Father's Day

Today is Father's Day.  In an intriguing twist of holiday fate, it's also Bloomsday.

What is Bloomsday?  It's the day documented in great detail in James Joyce's Ulysses.  Across the world, there will be a variety of celebrations, from literary readings to pub crawls.  I've written about this holiday before; my favorite post about Bloomsday is here.

If I was closer to my grad school self, I might write a post about the types of fathers in Joyce.  We might think of them as being drunk, abusive, absent--and yet, there were some good fathers too.  Leopold Bloom functions as a father figure throughout much for the book.

I think about my own generation, so full of absent fathers and abusive fathers.  So many of us experienced divorce done badly, oh so badly, in the 1970's.  I was lucky that my own father was different.

In fact, my father seemed more like the fathers we see these days.  He could pack our lunches and brush our hair into acceptable ponytails and teach us how to be long-distance runners.  He helped us with science fair projects and took the family on camping trips and in general, he was very involved in our lives.  I haven't met many other people of my generation who were as lucky.

I'm glad that we've become a society of people, at least some of us have, who can be our best parents to children, whether we're fathers, mothers, or part of the village raising the children.  We still have a long way to go before our culture is where I'd like us to be in terms of work/family balance.  But that's a topic for a different blog post.

So today, in the waning hours of Father's Day/Bloomsday, let us celebrate fathers of all sorts.  Let us celebrate the dads in fiction and movies that taught us how to be good fathers.  Let us celebrate the aspects of our own father, grandfathers, uncles, and older cousins that are praiseworthy.  Let us forgive what we can.  Let us resolve to be good to the generations coming up behind us.

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