To All The Dads. ( again)

"We are going to the jungle"
my father and son inform me
"Be careful of the lions
I tell them
My son ties a red terrycloth
superman cape around his neck
my father takes a walking stick
dog on leash 
the trio 
set off on safari
They are gone many days and nights
or so it seems
for I do worry about the lions
when my cubs have wandered off without me
No need to worry
here they come now
My father is wearing the superman cape
pretending to fly through the neighbourhood
shouting : superman! superman! 
My son is running by his side
the dog is yapping
my father in flourescent red
is making a spectacle of himself
I can see that to my son
this is no game 
of just pretend 
my father scoops him up
I watch as they lift up          into the air 
And fly the rest of the way home. 
1985, from In this House are Many Women, pub. 1992. Goose Lane Editions 

My father and my son, above. My son and his son, below.

I don't believe much in having one day a year set aside to honour our fathers and mothers. Some day I will write about why. For now, here's to every man who has been a loving father to a child. The teachers, the uncles, the step-fathers, the granddads. For single Moms trying to be dads. Single Dads trying to be moms. And for everyone who missed out on knowing their father, or is missing their father, and for all the fatherless children. For Dads learning to be Dads. Tired new Dads. Dads about to be. Worried Dads. Dads fighting disease, Dads in jail and Dads in war. Gay Dads. Divorced Dads. Dads who do not even know they are Dads. Dads who never got to be the fathers they wanted to be.

Here's to the dream every child can feel safe in the arms of a father.

2011. This year, I'm thinking of my husband, who inherited teenage step-sons, and is now a Bumpy grandfather. We call him Saint Gilles.

As always, remembering my Papa.

And especially thinking this year of my niece and nephews, all in their twenties, who will be missing their unforgettable father, my brother, Shawn. Brave hearts, hold fast.