Father’s Day 2023 will be tough and there’s no way to keep it from being. My father, John, and my great-uncle/dad, Carey, have been gone long enough to make me smile when they come to mind but not send me into a blubbering mess. My children and grandchildren, however, will have their first without Roger Anthony Hopson, their Dad and Poppy.
His death in October feels like yesterday and on a given day I do pretty well until the wrong song comes on the radio, or these darned holidays roll around. My beloved Uncle Carey died in 1997, right before Father’s Day, and I remember going to the Hallmark store and having to leave empty-handed because every aisle, door, and window loudly reminded me that my hero was gone.
My father, John, was a giant of a man—all heart and full of love and life lessons—died in September 2004 so by Father’s Day, I wasn’t as raw. This year, though, is different. We made it through Roger’s birthday Thanksgiving Day, we muddled through Christmas, and now here we are. Trying to fill the hole he left is like trying to tip-toe over the Grand Canyon.
He so enjoyed being a father, a daddy, a provider, protector, cheerleader, hero—and he took those roles seriously 24/7. Every time we gathered, I heard stories and antics about his sixth sense with Marcos and Angela and how he always got the truth out of them no matter how well-crafted the lie was going to be. He would’ve made a great detective because he didn’t trust, and he always verified.
For years I thought we were on the same page with punishment until I discovered about six years ago that instead of spanking our children, they created an elaborate performance of him hitting the bed and them screaming and fake crying with me none the wiser. Nevertheless, I took great pride in knowing that the spankings I offered were real.
He loved taking care of us, so I was surprised when he announced that he was not going to be one of those grandparents who made everybody endure tons of pictures and countless stories about our cute and smart grandchildren. I made no such promises, so I just laughed when he passed a baby picture of our now 16-year-old Maya and remarked “Isn’t that the prettiest baby you’ve ever seen?” He never sang to our children, but he sang to the grandbabies, hosted tea parties, baked Easy Bake oven cookies, and found a way to weave them in almost every sermon.
Yes, Sunday will be tough, but the wisdom and faith of our fathers will endure:
(1) Everybody’s not your friend. Choose carefully and cherish true ones for the treasure they are.
(2) Be careful with your reputation. My dad would remind me that he was a little boy once and boys talk, so don’t be the topic of conversation.
(3) Have your own money so you don’t have to “stand around with your hand out.”
(4) The truth will always stand—it doesn’t have to be propped up or recreated every time.
(5) Trust God in everything—little things, big things–all things.
(6) Have and use your own stuff. Finally,
(7) T -H- I- N-K. Think for yourself, consider all the options, and choose the best one from the information you have.
Here’s a salute to fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, mentors, and mothers who give us their all every time: THANK YOU for your love and care.
Be blessed and Happy Juneteenth.
Looking for inspiration and straight talk with a bit of attitude? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more, and now every first and third Sunday on WOJG.com 94.7 FM, she’s hosting her very own podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, & One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here.” In each episode she’ll share some of her favorite people who’ll inspire and uplift you. She’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful, so slow down, you’re in for a treat!