Summer fun is here and I’m noticing some different trends to this year’s festivities, some of which happen this Father’s Day Weekend.
Themes that include the word “wild” seem to be popping up all over town, from the Metropolitan Library System’s Summer Reading Program theme to this year’s Children’s Garden Festival at Myriad Botanical Gardens, with free admission for dads this Sunday. Both share similar artistic ties to Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” a book read in so many households and schools over the course of the past two generations. If you’re looking an event to celebrate Dad this weekend, find MetroFamily’s Father’s Day Fun Guide here.
Summer can feel like a kind of wild departure from routine. Bedtimes go by the wayside with the sun still shining at 9 p.m., and late-overs become sleepovers on an ordinary Wednesday; whether or not there’s any actual sleep happening, we’re not sure but our kids are definitely out of the usual school-homework-family time routine. It’s the season of lemonade stand afternoons and ice cream sundae nights, swimming, sunscreen and snow cones. A different routine shifts over to lawlessness quickly without parental guidance; it’s like the Garden of Eden over here, complete with seasonal snakes, apples off the tree, temptation and simple rules. This familiar dystopia has a start and an end, thank goodness, a kind of alternate universe similar to where Maurice Sendak’s creatures live.
Fatherhood is a topic that wouldn’t seem to fit in that list of all-things-summer, more of a “one of these things is not like the other” association even though we know Father’s Day stands out on the June calendar each year. I do see more of a cultural shift to help it stand out, no longer an afterthought.
I’ve always assumed the “wild things” theme was a subtle reference to children so it makes sense to me that Father’s Day falls during the time I’m seeing more events that match up with those ideas. Dad, after all, is sometimes the person to tame wild things any way they come, whether it’s scaring away imagined monsters at night to appease small people cowering under the covers, wrangling children across the grocery store or coaxing teens out of their respective caves. All wild things after all need pruning and care and love.
Moms too do these things, of course, but I know that in our household, I’m the practical person while my husband is the emotions person. I’m glad to share parenting responsibilities with someone who knows just how to work with our own four wild things to raise, correct and help shift their personality traits into life skills without breaking anyone’s spirit.
One thing I’ve learned at MetroFamily is that there are so many different kinds of families: step-families, foster families, adoptive families, grandparents raising grandchildren, single moms, single dads, families with two dads or two moms or other arrangements that don’t fit neatly in a checkbox. The fact that one caring adult can make such an amazing difference in the life of a child is all that matters.
This weekend, we celebrate fathers. There’s not a one-size-fits-all for any of this parenting but the same could be said for childhood. No matter how wild things get, as we look toward all the seasons to follow, I am glad to have my Dad’s voice in my mind and my husband’s hand at my side.
Happy Father’s Day, to you and your wild things.
P.S. If you’re looking to really change things up this weekend, it’s not too late to get tickets for Classical Ballet School’s performance of “The Nightingale” tomorrow night at 7. Bring Dad to see the show or give him some alone time at home but don’t miss this beautiful ballet!