Here we are - Father's Day! The national spotlight is on Dad at the grill, Dad getting his 100th new tie, Dad opening up his homemade cards. And, with a growing sense of authenticity, Dad simply being recognized and celebrated for his hands-on, equal status to Mom. We aren't completely there yet, of course, but the drumbeat of change is getting louder by the year. Fatherhood is becoming understood as worth something akin to motherhood.
Can't you just feel the gender convergence? It is hard to read a newspaper these days without seeing a story of involved fatherhood, or laid-off-Dad-becomes-full-time-father. While some of these portrayals are still focused on how amazing it is that dads are doing so much caregiving, many simply feel as if they are reporting on a trend. Yes!
But something even bigger is afoot than Dads punching the clock at home more often. We're seeing a wearing away of stereotypical gender roles in our society - at a pace that I'd bet hasn't been witnessed before. It's becoming easier for men to be nurturers - not just for the short-term while they wait for their wives to come home to take over - but as a part of their everyday lives. Masculinity is gearing up for a long overdue makeover.
Mother's Day started many centuries ago as a way to honor and appreciate motherhood and mothers. Father's Day, on the other hand, is a relatively recent creation - beginning in the early twentieth century. While Mother's Day has enjoyed generally universal high regard, Father's Day has often been anything from a cheap imitation to a parody that highlights the very unequal role that men have played in childraising.
But how many people are laughing now? Today is a dad's day in the sun. Even though it rained all day here in Boston, somehow it feels warm and bright.
Happy Father's Day, world!