Yesterday was Father’s Day.
My dad, Morton Jacobs, passed away 28 years ago.
My mom, Bernice Jacobs, passed away 29 years ago.
I was 31 when my mom died and 32 when my dad died.
I thought I was old enough to handle it as best as I could having both parents die almost to the day of each other one year apart. My only sibling Enid died in her 60th year back in 2003.
Admittedly, I wasn’t very good when it came to remembering to purchase Mother’s Day or Father’s Day cards. I didn’t think it important, only because I called my parents twice a day every day. They thought I was doing it as a way to check up on them. The truth was, I called them, because I needed to hear the sounds of their voices, always uplifting and helpful to me.
It’s been several years since I purchased a Father’s Day card, the last being for my father-in-law Sam Cohen, now deceased.
Looking forward, I think about changing my tact. I’ve been celebrating Mother’s Day with my wife Lisa since our daughters were born in the 1980s. I love buying Lisa Mother’s Day cards, and I usually purchase several and give them to her through the day starting with a traditional breakfast in bed.
Before our two children left to start their own households, they’d be in on the Mother’s Day conspiracy with me. This included quietly buying their Mother a gift, waking up really early on Mother’s Day, sneaking downstairs into the kitchen and putting together a pancake breakfast. Lisa knew what was going on the entire time, and she’d pretend to be asleep and then surprised, especially when the girls were young. But it didn’t stop, even with the girls were in college. I so miss those days.
But I know a couple of things. On Sunday, my wife snuck downstairs into the kitchen, only to return a half hour later with a French Toast breakfast and two wonderful cards. But it was difficult not to have the children around. But then the phone rang, and it was our newly married Emily in Rockville calling early to say “Happy Father’s Day.” Later on Sunday she and her husband Garen arrived to give me a gift. It was a photograph of me with my hands on her head, blessing her at her bedeken for her wedding, one of the best moments of my life.
Soon, after breakfast, the phone rang again. This time it was DeDe, our oldest daughter, who lives with her husband Yaakov and son Nani in New Haven, Conn. I heard some giggling going on as Lisa set up the computer. And there through Skype was my daughter and my grandson, both wishing me a Happy Father’s Day.
They were a little long in getting to me, because some traditions get passed along in a good way. Nani and DeDe had to first say “Happy Father’s Day” to Yaakov, complete with breakfast in bed and a card or two.
Nani showed us the card he gave his Tati. “It has trucks on it,” he announced in a giggly 3-1/2 year-old’s voice.
So what I’ve learned is, Father’s Day is just a little different that’s all. We get kisses blown over computer cameras from one daughter and our grandson while our closer-to-home daughter checks in with a precious wedding photo.
If there is a heaven, which I think there is, I know that my father Morton and my father-in-law Sam, were smiling down, watching their son and daughter, granddaughters and a couple of grand sons-in-law. And most of all, that little kid who sent me a T-shirt with an orange flower he drew scanned and printed on it.
I wear that T-shirt for Morton and for Sam. I know between Emily’s photograph that she gave me and Nani’s T-shirt that he and his parents gave me, we were still all in this together.
Next year, hopefully there could be more little people to draw Mother’s Day and Father’s Day pictures.
Just like their aunts and parents and grandparents loved to do before them.
The wedding photograph, the cards and the T-shirt were for me, Morton and Sam.
There’s no doubt about it.