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Caribbean: Thanks, Dad!

Father's Day, that worldwide celebration honouring dads and their important role in the family dynamic, is marked in the Caribbean on the third Sunday of June and regional bloggers posted en masse yesterday for the occasion. From the eloquent to the irreverent, here's what they had to say…

Jamaican diaspora blogger Geoffrey Philp noticed that the “rain lilies had once again bloomed after the long, dry season that we’ve had in South Florida”, explaining that those particular flowers had a special significance for him because they reminded him of his dad:

I did not know my father, Sydney George Philp, very well. I was his tenth child from four marriages, so the time that I spent with him was always important to me. In the brief times that I spent with him…I realized that he was a charming, brilliant man…

Our family started Philp get-togethers which were prompted (sadly) when we found out that our father was ill. My favorite memory of that time was sitting on the verandah with my father and eating roasted corn, smelling the mixture of rain and earth before the showers came tumbling down Long Mountain, watching him fall asleep as the rain fell, and realizing in that moment that even though he might soon not be with us, that everything was irie.

All was not forgotten, but forgiven. I was walking with him in the lane at the back of the house, he pulled up a rain lily, handed it to me, and said, ‘There, you can’t say I never gave you anything.’ And he laughed. The old devil laughed. And all I could do was laugh and tell him that I loved him. He said, ‘I know.’

So, whenever the rain lilies bloom at my front door, I remember my father and those brief moments we had together—which were as brief and miraculous as the appearance of rain lilies—and I give thanks.

Another Jamaican living in the U.S., Dennis Jones, who admits his parenting skills are “a work-in-progress”, used the opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of his own father:

As I comb through my memories, I can see vividly the many things my father did for me, but I will try to synthesise them into a few lessons, on to which I try to hold in my efforts to be a good father.

He showed me that fathers and mothers should be equal partners in raising a child.

I thank him for showing me the value of consistency in parenting. I thank him for always keeping his word. He never promised more than he could deliver.

He explained to me that discipline is learning what is the right thing to do; it is not imposed. He explained that being a parent is a lifetime occupation…Thank you, Daddy.

In stark contrast, Annie Paul reported on Jamaica's “own brand of incomprehensible Father’s Day exuberance when popular singjay @MrVegasMusic saluted the day with: Big up to all a the fathers dem inna prison weh kill a man fi dem yute. I would too.”

Girl With a Purpose, meanwhile, called fatherhood “a very special period in a man's life where he truly learns to give of and extend himself outside of himself to other human beings that he brought into this world”, and went on to interpret several Biblical passages on the role of husbands and fathers, saying:

To truly understand what God expects of fathers, we need to go to the human race's owner's manual – the Bible.

Father's Day greetings from members of the Cuban diaspora were imbued with calls for freedom. El Cafe Cubano thanked his father “for always being there…and for setting the example of the importance of family”:

One of the reasons I do this blog is for you. I cannot FREE Cuba for you, but I will do everything I can to try to FREE Cuba.

Babalu‘s thoughts were also “with the incredible Cuban fathers who have done so much and sacrificed everything for their children to live in freedom”:

There are too many Cuban fathers who are not with us today because they gave their life struggling for the freedom of their country and liberty for their families and all Cubans. Let us remember them and thank them on this day, offering a special prayer for their families. They gave their lives not only so their children would have an opportunity to live in freedom, but so their countrymen could as well.

Over in Barbados, rainy weather that was a thorn in the side of “who were dreaming about a day on the beach or at a fancy restaurant”, made B.C. Pires‘ day:

Too wet to do anything remotely rewarding or character-building, my kids and I watched Batman Begins, the necessary first step to watching The Dark Knight, the blu-ray of which I’ve had since Christmas, but not the opportunity to press gang the little ones into a forced viewing of Part I. The daughter whose starting position was it was bound to be ‘too scary’ and my son, whose every waking moment is filled with football, gave me the present of two hours on the couch with the old man. It was great.

Blogging from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Abeni revealed that she had been estranged from her father as a young girl, but was immensely grateful that they were able to reunite and forge a meaningful relationship:

I am my father's daughter in so many respects.

There is nothing left to say but thanks for the love and support even when obstacles were put in your way. We may not always see eye to eye and truth be told at times you drive me up a wall. I guess I do too and would have disappointed you many a time. However I think it is fair to say that we have grown to respect our differences. Happy Father's day and if I have learnt one thing from you it is that forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

Finally, Karen Walrond and her daughter spent Father's Day in Trinidad, away from their husband/dad, but sent this message to men everywhere:

To all of you men out there who have ever loved, guided, cared for, or protected anyone else, Happy Father's Day, whether you have children or not. May the people who love you treat you in grand style today.

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