Dad's Day not just 'Hallmark' holiday

As we celebrate our country's independence this week, I can't help but chuckle about some of the crazy holidays the world has conjured up over the years. How do you celebrate National Zipper Day or World Mosquito Day in your household? What about Count Your Buttons Day or Super Mario Day? Want to know my opinion of Sweetest Day? Just ask my wife.

Father's Day, however, is a different story, or at least it has been since I became a dad some 26 years ago. I never gave it much thought as I was growing up. Back then it was just another day to wash my dad's car or splurge on his favorite aftershave. But the first Father's Day after I became a dad myself brought forth a whole new significance to the holiday. It's when I truly understood my meaning of life.

It also gave me a new appreciation for my own father. As a kid, all I worried about was getting yelled at for something I did or didn't do. In reality, my dad was, and still is, an incredibly thoughtful and generous person. For years, I dreaded that it was only a matter of time before I turned into my father. Now I can only hope for as much.

But my true purpose in life was realized when I began to have my own children. I could make a list a mile long of things I'm not particularly proud over the years, but when it comes to being a dad to three awesome daughters, I can give myself a big, contented pat on the back. This past Father's Day was especially poignant. We have been going through our fair share of challenges in our household lately. So, when my quiet, three-person BBQ turned into a surprise dinner with all of my kids, there just weren't enough words to describe how full my heart was.

Over the years I've watched them grow from cute little girls with matching hair bows to incredible young women. Needless to say, it makes me over-the-moon proud.

Of course, my wife deserves a small bit of credit as well (and by small bit, I mean most of it). But I feel pretty good about my part in nurturing them into the funny, considerate and respectful adults they are today.

I hope all the dads out there get to enjoy the same type of pride on Father's Day that I do. You can have Hug Your Cat Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'll take the third Sunday in June every year.

But in case my kids read this, International Bacon Day is Sept 4. And yes, gifts are welcome.

- John Bourjaily of Golfview Hills is a former contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].