Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fuck Facebook Father's Day?

I've previously posted on my thoughts on my own Father's Day experience (and how it's a joke compared to Mother's day) but recently my reflections about this day, and Mother's day, have drifted from my own parents (and myself as a parent) to those who've lost a father or mother.

I think about everyone from my family members to coworkers, from old friends to new... all of whom have  lost a parent, or spouse, or child too young.... too tragically. Maybe I'm being morbid, but I think about my own parents, who are orphans now, and how they feel, and how I would feel if I lost them (furiously knocking on wood).  I wonder if the joy of having children on a Parent's Day can outweigh the heavy heart one would feel (It can't).  And I think about how hard it must be to go on social media on Father's/Mother's day.*(See Disclaimer I)   Do they look through the endless stream of happy  photographs of whitewashed perfection? Do they avoid the social network?  Is that more or less isolating? 

I'm reminded of this meme....

Of course, the meme hits at the larger picture of why do people post on social media.  What purpose does it serve, if not drawing attention to yourself, your good or bad fortunes or crowd sourcing advice that you could Google.  Facebook and Instagram are basically "Hey, I was doing this earlier!" while Snapchat (I'm told) is basically "Hey, I'm doing this right now!"  The point of many posts, whether pictures, or political, or "OMG Look", on purpose or not, is attention. **  The issue, bringing it back to the original post, is that posting about your amazing parent on a Parent Day could impact someone who no longer has a parent in vastly different ways than posting about your vacation would impact someone who isn't on that vacation. ***

Does Facebook Father's Day suck?

I asked a few friends who've lost a parent their thoughts and, somewhat surprisingly, their responses varied.  Some have said they aren't bothered by FB Father's Day at all.  Some have said that it is a really hard day regardless of people posting on social media.  Some have said that it is no harder than every other holiday. Some have said that every day is still hard.  And, of course, (which is kinda the point of this post), some have said that social media makes father's day harder, and /or they avoid it. ****

If Facebook and other social media are a tool used to draw attention to one's self, a known quantity, does that mean Facebook Parent's Day is a privilege those who lost a parent just have to deal w/in the in their own way?  Or should we all be a little more morbid, solemn, respectful, empathetic, courteous and acknowledge that while this day is a great time to show your parents how much you love them, maybe you should also realize that your celebration is actually a privilege which many others find painful.

My non scientific observations suggest that Father's Day far outpaces Mother's day on social media.  This year, I'm seeing many more posts about husbands, than fathers.  Perhaps that reflects the reality that as we age, we have ever more husbands (who are fathers) and ever fewer fathers.  Obviously, 5 - 10 - 20 years from now, when we're 40, 50 or 60 years old, Parents day will become entirely about us, and our kids, and maybe even our kids being Parents.  I wonder if it'll get easier for those who have lost a parent, if everyone else also has.  I wonder what it will feel like when there's that one guy left, who is posting about how his centenarian dad is the best in the world, when none of his friends have a living dad.  

I have seen a few of my friends, perhaps responsively, post about those they've lost. Not surprisingly, those posts always have the most social interaction.  Friends are NOT going to stop posting about their parents on parents day, and I'm not even sure I'm recommending it. Perhaps it would be insulting to their parent, spouse, etc if they didn't post (My wife is free to do as she pleases).  BUT maybe on this day we should also try to think of how hard this day is for so many...  For some people, Father's Day is a celebration, for others, it's a memorial day.

Personally, though I have not lost a parent (Furiously knocking on wood), I think going forward I'll always think Fuck Facebook Father's Day. 

Perhaps b/c I'm still a "lucky one," I also don't have the proper perspective.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.


*Disclaimer I - I have not checked my history, but it is possible I posted Happy Moms or Dads day on my wall in previous years.

**Disclaimer II -  I post on Facebook, I'm doing it right now, and there isn't anything necessarily wrong with talking about yourself or sharing with your "friends" your good fortunes.  We all know the people who go too far w/the self congratulations, and we all usually keep it contained.

***Disclaimer III - I don't think this is the same as posting on your mom or dads wall, about what an amazing parent they are, when it's their birthday. 

****Disclaimer IIII - I did post a picture of my parents on their anniversary 3 weeks ago, and while similar, I don't think it's the same at all unless there was a "Somehow My Parents Made it Work Day" Hallmark created.