Article was first published in 2017.

Father’s Day is a big deal for us. But this year we’ll be having Father’s Day when daddy’s away, and I am dreading it. In 2013, Father’s Day was on June 16th. How do I remember that? Because it was the day our youngest daughter was born. To say that I peaked too soon at giving Daddy the greatest Father’s Day gift ever is a huge understatement. How do you top that? A baby. The cutest, easiest, most charismatic little hellion you ever did meet … that’s her. The baby, the last child! How do you top giving daddy that ‘gift’?

Short answer … you can’t.

Roll forward four years, and we are about to hit an all-time low on Father’s Day as daddy is away. Not only is he away for Father’s Day, but he will be missing both of our daughter’s birthdays as well. Our youngest turns four on Friday, and our eldest turns six in the first week of July. Daddy will still be away.

Why is he not with us? Where is he?

He’s studying. He’s working. He’s providing for us. My heart is breaking for them. All of them, for him and for the girls. For my husband, missing their birthdays is very upsetting. And for them to miss spending the one day of the year when we’re supposed to shower Daddy with thanks, love and appreciation (even though we love and appreciate him every day). Instead, he will spend it studying, working, and alone (okay, not exactly alone, but with colleagues. Not with family).

For the girls, my heart is breaking because their actual birthdays are going to be quiet. A little less fun, a little less exciting because their daddy, their hero, won’t be with them, loving them, squeezing them and spoiling them.

How to celebrate Father’s Day when Daddy is away?

How do you celebrate these very special days when 1/4 of our little family is missing? Short answer … I don’t know.

What I do know is that I need to snap out of ‘it’ and do something extra special to try to make it up to them all, not that I actually can.

Focus on what I can control

Unfortunately, I’m the queen of procrastination. I did some present shopping this morning for my youngest’s birthday – she wanted lots of different collectables so I got her a few of each (Hatchimals Colleggtibles, Shopkins, Tsum Tsums etc), plus a few other things like Barbies, make-up etc – she’s a real little girly girl. Plus one token gift for my eldest who can’t grasp or deal with the fact that her baby sister’s birthday is before her’s! I mean, what if she (the younger one) catches up? What if she overtakes her? OMG!

I’ve also booked the party. I am such a bad mom – I really loathe kids’ birthday parties! It’s even worse this year, cos I have to ‘do it’ all on my own, but I have managed to convince them that they can have separate parties at the same venue on the same day. Phew! At least I don’t have to throw two parties with all the same people! #winning at motherhood!

Fortunately, we live in the digital age, so the plan is to make sure daddy is available to join in the birthday present opening via Skype. Whilst he won’t physically get to be with them, this is really the best alternative.

Father’s Day is another story

I’m not going to be able to get anything to him, so I think the best plan is to postpone it. The next time we get to see him is in mid-July when we meet up with him in East London (soon to be our new home), and we will get to do something special as a family with him.

Now I just have to convince the kids that this is a good plan. Wish me luck.

Gift Ideas for Father’s Day when Daddy is away

Even though he won’t be with us in person, here are some Father’s Day gift ideas for a father who is away on Father’s Day:

  • A personalized gift. This could be anything from a mug with his name on it to a piece of jewellery with his initials. It will show him that you were thinking of him and that you care.
  • A gift that reflects his interests. If he loves golf, get him a new set of clubs. If he’s a car enthusiast, get him a subscription to a car magazine. This shows that you’re paying attention to what he likes and that you want to support his hobbies.
  • A gift that he can enjoy while he’s away. This could be anything from a book to a subscription to a streaming service. It will help him to stay entertained and connected to home.
  • A gift that shows your love and appreciation. This could be a handwritten letter, a poem, or even just a phone call. It will let him know how much you care about him and how much you appreciate everything he does for you.

No matter what you choose, make sure it comes from the heart. Your father will appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift, even if he can’t be there to celebrate with you in person.

Dad’s Are Superheroes

On a more serious note, let’s take a moment to think about all the dads who won’t be able to spend ‘Father’s Day’ with their kids (my own included). And all the kids who won’t get to spend it with their dads. There is any number of reasons why this would be the case. Ours is just one example.

So to all the Fly-In-Fly-Out dads, all the Military dads, all the estranged dads, all the expat dads, all the single dads whose weekend it isn’t, all the dads who work away, and all the dad’s in Heaven … Happy Father’s Day. It won’t be the same, but we’ll celebrate you anyway!

Thank you for all you do. Thank you for all you are.

You are appreciated.

You are loved.