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June 24th, 2003

Not-So-Great Expectations

My Secret Plan for Father's Day

 
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I don’t have high expectations for my Father’s Day celebration this year. Don’t get me wrong, we will undoubtedly celebrate. We will barbecue or break bread in some way. And hopefully, I’ll receive one or two hand-made cards (hopefully two, since I have two kids). Believe it or not, the reason I don’t have high expectations isn’t because our Mother’s Day celebration was such a disaster (though it was).

Happy %$#! Mother’s Day
Here’s what happened, in a nutshell. This year, at least for one day, I really wanted the wife to feel the respect and love she deserved. But when I tried to enlist the help and participation of the two young people we live with, they had other ideas. They just didn’t seem to want anything to do with my whole, wacky “love and respect” concept. Sadly, I realized that this year, maybe the best way to give my wife a peaceful, pleasant, Mother’s Day would be to make sure the two reasons she is a mother were kept on the other side of the house.

Holy family, Batman!
Do you think St. Joseph ever had this problem with his (holy) family? I can’t imagine Jesus not being on board in honoring Mary, even when he was a teenager, when it isn’t cool to dig your parents. If asked about it, my kids would probably say, “We’ll act more like Jesus when you start acting more like Joseph.” At which point, I would konk their heads together to hear that coconut sound.

No, Mother’s Day wasn’t pretty, but that still doesn’t explain my expectations for Father’s Day.

Not even a ‘guy thing’
You may think it’s a guy thing to not expect a bunch of hoopla on the day that honors and pays tribute to the guy who didn’t actually carry you for nine months, but without whom you would not be who you are. Not even close. Sure, your mother went through labor, but don’t forget the guy who stood by her side, bravely offering her ice chips, diligently making sure that she ate just the right amount of chips. Did I say ate? Okay, so we all know they disappear once they touch the spoon.

No, maybe we dads smartly try to keep a lid on our glory for fear that someone will remember who has been doing the real heavy lifting from the beginning. Hopefully, mom’s not still carrying the load by herself, but we know that happens. A lot.

Not high, not low, but open
No, the reason I don’t expect a lot this father’s day is because these days, whenever possible, I try to have Mary’s attitude of pure, open expectation.

Even at the tomb, in spite of the nightmare of her son’s death, regardless of the fear and confusion she felt, the mother of Jesus still had a deep sense of open expectation. She didn’t expect her son to come back in a vision. She didn’t know how he would come back. But she knew everything would work out according to God’s plan. And she knew that it would be good. So she probably didn’t worry about it.

Just like I don’t need to worry about Father’s Day, or anything, really. Whatever it is, how ever it turns out, I am trying to be open to it.

Of course, I haven’t told those in charge of my celebration about my new-found perspective. As far as they’re concerned, I’m expecting great things, and God help them if they don’t deliver.

 
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The Author : Chris Cabrera
Chris Cabrera has a wife and two offspring and writes from Los Angeles.
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