Fathers Day graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay

Rockin’ and Talkin’ with the Clinton Seniors’ Association

Forget the gift card: spend time with dad this Father’s Day

By Zee Chevalier

It is the month of June

The month of leaves and roses.

When pleasant sights salute the eyes

And pleasant scents the nose.

Nathaniel Parker Willis

Is June spring or early summer? I suppose it might depend on where you live. Here I see trees boasting leaves in various shades of green, but no colours yet in the gardens, while in the Lower Mainland all the traditional spring flowering bulbs like snow drops, crocuses, and daffodils have already finished blooming. The lilacs here are showing clumps where flowers will be, but are not quite ready yet to open their dazzling display of colour and scent. Everything in due course, I guess. We have had some bright, sunny, warm days but they started with frosty mornings. We’re in a “’tween time”, I suppose.

Definitely a harbinger of spring is the return of certain birds. For several days last week I was enchanted by the white-crowned sparrow who may well have the most beautiful song of all the sparrows.

The ringed turtle dove has made an appearance also. My first sighting of this bird in Clinton was in 2010. Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to Birds called Los Angeles its usual habitat in the mid-fifties. It has obviously moved northward into Canada.

Victoria Day came and went like an ordinary day, not part of a usually very busy weekend for Clinton with the parade and rodeo and dance. I wonder how things will be in 2022. Is the pandemic on the decline? Are vaccinations making a difference?

My brother-in-law has just gone into Palliative Care, yet all through these past few intense months I often thought more about his wife than I did about him. How was she coping? As his caregiver she was alert to his needs twenty-four hours a day. I couldn’t help but think how very demanding and stressful taking care of someone like that could be.

I asked her if she was remembering to care for herself as well. She had the support of her family and a few close friends, and she did her best to stay physically active and eat healthy as she tried to persuade him to do so. Getting enough sleep was a big issue, as he wasn’t sleeping well and she was conscious of his wakefulness all the time. She did take short breaks once in a while, if even just to go grocery shopping. One of their daughters stayed with her dad from time to time. She did not, however, seek respite care. Her daughters and granddaughters kindly and generously provided many meals.

All of these things helped her throughout this period. Now, of course, his condition has worsened and she is unable to carry on. Her greatest fear was that he would fall and she would be unable to assist him. It was clear to me that being the caregiver can be exhausting and stressful, and it is important that the one giving care must practise self-care as well.

Father’s Day is June 20. It is an unofficial holiday to celebrate fathers around the world, and is celebrated in more and more countries as fathers are more and more involved in raising their children and are recognized for their efforts.

In years gone by dads were involved with their kids by providing a home and security, clothes, boundaries of male responsibilities, and taking care of mom so she could look after the kids. It wasn’t common for fathers to be involved with their children beyond activities like fishing or learning to ride a bike.

It has lost its real meaning over the years among the myriad ads leading up to the third Sunday of June. We are bombarded by special offers to buy dad a smartphone. a home theatre system, golf clubs, clothing, and more. It has become highly commercial like some other holidays.

I would encourage you to forget about the gift cards and leather wallet that cost big $$ and instead make your dad a card with a personal, heartfelt message and spend time with him. It’s free. It’s special. Take a walk. Talk. Reminisce. Tell him you love him. Give him a hug. As years go by, both of you will fondly remember the great time you spent together on Father’s Day long after the gift card is forgotten. Cheers to all dads!

There are no Clinton Seniors’ Association member birthdays in June to celebrate.

Count your age by friends, not years.

Count your life by smiles, not tears.

John Lennon


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