Worldwide, it will be Father’s Day on Sunday 18 June 2023, also in Malaysia! However, in Australia, where I am from originally, it is celebrated on 3 September this year.
Why do fathers in Australia get a different Father’s Day, you’d think? It appears to be due to clustered Holiday and Special Occasion fatigue. The decision was made many years ago to switch to the first Sunday in September, which also coincides with the first week of Spring. It seems better for the retailers to have Father’s Day landing in the middle of a drought of other events. Maybe it all came down to making profit?
A dad for all seasons
Where does that place me, now I’m living in Malaysia? It seems like I am a dad for all seasons! In Malaysia, I am a stepdad to seven children, all of whom are adults. In Australia, I am father to two kids, who are also adults. These days, I wait to see if everyone remembers to wish me a “Happy Father’s Day”! If that happens, I am happy with that.
How to become a father
Before I had kids, I was happy to see friends with fresh babies, but had absolutely no desire to hold them or coo-coo to them. One fateful day on 19 September 1986 changed all that, when son Sam was born. I had joined the pre-natal classes and read up on fatherhood, but the concept was still foreign. However, within minutes of birth the dad-genes kicked into overdrive and the crazy journey of parenting began.
Eighteen months later daughter Alice added to the diversity and the confusion of parenting as her younger days were opposite to her older brother, especially when it came to sleeping patterns. We survived and prospered, though we were sometimes extremely exhausted. It is those periods of exhaustion when fathers and mothers really have to work together, and we did.
Precious cards and special trips
Father’s Day back then was celebrated with handmade cards and paintings from the kids, which were so treasured even though Vincent Van Gogh talent didn’t really show through; the cards looked more like an abstract version of Salvador Dali’s paintings. When the kids grew up, we took them for trips out for the day to some of my favourite places like Botanical Gardens and some easy Coastal Walks. Special they were with these memories of so long ago, still retaining their freshness.
The small things matter
To me, it is the small tokens of recognition that matter, not the size of the celebration or present. Besides, as far as I am concerned, every day is Father’s Day because that is what I am: a father for 365 days a year, not for one day. Everyone still talks to me, provide hugs and well wishes if we haven’t caught up in a while, so I must be doing something right as a father…
I am the son of a father as well. My dad, now 93 years young, is still driving his car, playing and singing music out and about, and is still getting excited about the flowers blooming in the garden. He is in Tasmania, so will have to wait till September to send the special wishes. In the meantime, WhatsApp video calls are the go-to medium of father and son talks and jokes.
Last mention goes out to the wife Shakira, who shouldered single parent responsibility of seven children for many years striving for order in the middle of all that chaos. Going on the results she deserves both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day wishes as much as anyone else.
Very happy Father’s Day to all. Make sure everyone has fun, gives, and receives the appropriate quantity of hugs, well wishes and wonderfully obscure handmade cards! In our article here are a few other ideas to spoil dad this year.