In the age of social media, we use photos to celebrate everything – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Siblings’ Day, Best Friend’s Day, International Dog Day, International Donut Day – every little thing, every relationship, every meal can be celebrated and acknowledged with a post on Instagram. I love looking at old throwback photos people post honouring their familiar relationships. One of my favourite pictures I have ever posted of my siblings and me is a throwback. I am 7, my sister is 4, and my brother is just 7 months old. We are at the Tower of London for the first time, standing next to a bear dressed as a beefeater. I am wearing a blue and white pinafore dress over a white tshirt and grinning, my sister is sulking in purple and making her typical distressed face, while my brother is smiling his gummy baby smile. There is just something so adorable and wholesome about seeing a very dated photo of people you interact with on social media. It strips away your current perceptions and allows you to see them at their most innocent.
On that note, Father’s Day was this past Sunday. Although I was tempted to post the photo of a two-year-old me with my father, posing with disposable flower pots on our heads, I did not. He wouldn’t have seen it anyway, and when I told him he would receive his card on Friday (I’m meeting up with my family in Dubrovnik), he told me he would be out of town and unable to receive mail. I have always been my father’s daughter. My dad is a great man, and I love him very much. He has always offered me unconditional support. He has fulfilled various whims I’ve had over the years, such as “flying” me around the basement on a blanket during “A Whole New World”, ordering Chinese food and watching Mulan, buying my two-year-old self a massive plush Big Bird that I had begged my mum for for months, andgoing with me to see Paul McCartney last August – even though he’s seen him twice before – but the love for the Beatles that he instilled in me compelled him to go again. He has even fostered a love for Croatia within me, a country part of our history that he has shown me once before and is showing me different parts of it in three days. We have had many highs in our relationships and I have achieved so much that I credit him for enabling me to do – studying abroad, graduating college, pursuing my masters’ degree (in a foreign country, no less). These moments, moments that I could not have achieved without his unwavering love and support, these are the moments that I consider to be jewels in our relationship. These are the moments that should be celebrated.
So why was my Facebook feed full of girls my age posting their wedding photos? My best friend from high school said that maybe bridal photos are expensive and they want their money’s worth?
I mean, I get it. I’ve obviously thought for years about my dad walking me down the aisle someday, and what song we’d dance to for our father-daughter dance (I genuinely have no clue, because I would LOVE to use a Beatles song, I just have to find the perfect one that works. I’m definitely intending on having my dad and I dance traditionally because if I try anything more contemporary…well…my dad dances like a dad, let’s leave it at that). I get that this will be a significant moment in my relationship with my father because traditionally, it means I am no longer his. Same with him walking me down the aisle and “giving me away” (Side note on the father-daughter wedding moments – my best friends got married two years ago. She walked herself down the aisle and was met at the front by both parents. At the reception, she danced with her father and her new father-in-law, while her groom danced with his mother and new mother-in-law, to “Sweet Child O’Mine” by Guns’N’Roses. It was perfect and while I don’t think I’d do the same thing, it was a great way to really highlight the marriage as blending two families). But I don’t get why my peers seem to view this moment as the pinnacle of their father-daughter relationship, when there have been so many other milestones.
Maybe I’m just bitter because marriage is nowhere near on my horizon, but it seems to be on almost everyone else’s I know. This past weekend, two girls I graduated with got married. So many girls in the year above me have had their first baby – a girl who graduated two years ahead of me just had her second. Girls from my high school who were two years younger than me have gotten engaged, married and pregnant in the last year and a half. And I shouldn’t care. I’m getting a masters’. I’m living in Europe. It shouldn’t be any kind of problem that there is no ring on my finger.
I think I’m just frustrated with the fact that that particular lifestyle is considered to be superior. Marriage is seen as something to strive for, and before you assume I am anti-marriage and ultra-feminist, I have to admit that I am very guilty of viewing it as such. I ranted two years ago about how in the States, I feel like there is something wrong with me because I don’t have a fiancé, I don’t even have a boyfriend at the moment (another story for another day, I am in a committed relationship with energy and that is a long story that is difficult to explain to people who aren’t into reiki or messages from the universe). Over here in Europe, it is more normal to get married and reproduce later in life, and it makes me feel more at ease about everything. Unfortunately, most of my friends do live in the States and that means that is what I am seeing on my social media feeds at the moment.
Although I’ve gone super off-topic, but not really, my point is this – can we celebrate the milestones in our relationships with our fathers that don’t make it seem like marrying off a daughter should be a father’s proudest moment? Because I would like to celebrate my dad without feeling like I’m missing a key aspect in the father/daughter relationship.