It’s easy to build in an annual day to celebrate mothers and fathers. They work so hard for their families’ benefit, doing everything from financially supporting them, feeding them, and cleaning them, to providing for their emotional and spiritual needs, comforting, disciplining, and encouraging them. It’s obvious why we have Father’s Day for dads and Mother’s Day for moms. A day for each parent to be celebrated is to be expected. But you know which family members don’t get nearly enough recognition or celebration? Uncles.
Why is that? Why is it so hard for us to think of and appreciate how awesome our brothers (and brothers-in-law) are to our kids? I have a brother, and my husband has two brothers, and those three guys are the best uncles ever to my children. I couldn’t ask for three more loving, giving, funny, and all-around wonderful guys for my kids to be around. They are great examples of what good men look like, for my boys. They are doting and respectful of my daughter, perfect examples of how men should treat women. They love my children as if they were their own, giving hugs and kisses, bringing presents, participating in wrestling matches and tickle fights; they do many of the things dads do.
My kids also have “uncles” who aren’t related to us, not by blood anyway. We have close friends who are like uncles to my children, reading them books or carrying them around on their shoulders. Uncleship shouldn’t be limited to blood relatives alone. Uncles and “uncles” alike have a built-in ability to make their nieces and nephews laugh. It’s like a special uncle talent. Instead of “dad jokes,” we could probably spend a few hours sharing stories of “uncle jokes.” They have a unique way of connecting with the kids, as a respected adult who isn’t the parent. In fact, sometimes my kids are more likely to obey their uncles than me.
So for Father’s Day, maybe just this once, don’t forget about those stellar dudes in your kids’ lives who have made a difference, shown the love, tied the shoestrings, dried the tears, or served up the burgers. They might not be fathers at all, or they could have a family of their own. But when sending cards or making meals for the dads and granddads in your life, don’t forget to show a little love to the uncles, those unheralded heroes by whom your kids love to get thrown in the pool. Fantastic uncles everywhere, I declare that this day is for you, too.