By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com May 12 2014 11:23 AM ET
Hallmark, I know you’re going to love me for this one, but I think we need to add another holiday to the calendar year. Mother’s and Father’s Day are just too limiting for 2014, so I propose we include “Other’s Day” somewhere smack in between. “Other’s Day” would essentially clean up all of the loose ends — every stepparent, extra parent, same-sex parent, almost parent, figurative parent, etc. could claim this day as theirs. It might even be a hit for kids with a traditional mom and dad because they could show a little extra love to that special teacher, babysitter, or mommy's boyfriend who might not expect it. I for one am sick of sharing Father’s Day with my spouse, and I will never claim to be a mother, so we would embrace it wholeheartedly.
To be honest, it never dawned on me that this holiday is necessary until I had a child of my own. When he was a baby, it didn’t really matter. I thought it was cute when our phones would blow up on Father’s Day and the well wishes were abundant. It had a different meaning than before, and the accomplishment of being a dad invigorated me. Then, when he was 2, his pre-preschool helped him make cards for both Mother’s and Father’s Day. It was always extremely awkward around Mother’s Day because I could tell the teachers didn’t want to offend me and weren’t sure how to approach it. They obviously wouldn’t send him home with a Mother’s Day card, but there was still some sort of acknowledgement. Usually they would write “Happy Family Day” or something generic like that, but God love them for trying. Father’s Day would roll around and he would then have to double-time it — he brought home two cards instead of one.
Wouldn’t it be easier to just add another little holiday for all of us that fall into the “ambiguous parent” category? I don’t think it would cost a fortune to do — if anything it could generate more revenue through sales of cards, flowers, and shoes (that’s for me — I want shoes). It would be another reason to have a family day/night and another excuse to celebrate love. There don’t need to be special rules, like a specific meal you have to make or outfit you have to wear. It just needs to be a time to acknowledge all of us who don’t identify with the traditional holidays but are still just as special. (Or at least we think we are).