Father’s Day from Far Away: How to Celebrate When Dad Can’t Be There

Hallmark (and more or less every commercial ever) tells us Father’s Day is a day for family togetherness. Gather the clan and do things for Dad!, say the cards and advertisements and Pinterest boards. Which is all well and good if your family can be together on Father’s Day. But what about dads who have to travel for work? What about military dads? What about dads who don’t live with the family, or who are away caring for other family members?

RELATED: 10 Amazing Father’s Day Gifts That Aren’t a Tie

Father’s Day can be downright tough for families facing the day with Dad far away. Every park and restaurant seems like it’s packed with families celebrating together, and the day can be a stark reminder that schedules or circumstances are keeping yours apart. But you can (and should) still celebrate! Just because you’re not physically close doesn’t mean you can’t share a little Father’s Day joy. Here are some Father’s Day ideas for military dads, divorced dads, traveling dads, or dads who just can’t be there for any reason at all:

Have a Virtual Father’s Day Breakfast

father's day when dad is in the military - virtual breakfast

When Dad is in another time zone, it can be tough to coordinate a time to talk. Between his schedule, your schedule, and the time difference, the kids could be in bed by the time he finally has a minute… or vice versa. That’s why breakfast works so well: the kids are freshly up and (hopefully) not having meltdowns yet, and you can get them into cute outfits for FaceTime before they’re covered in dirt and jam. As for Dad, no matter where he is in the world, he’s probably seriously missing the fam. Seeing you all together at breakfast, bright eyed and bushy tailed, will make his day. And as for you, it can give you the emotional ammo you need to get through a day of missing Dad.

Send a Father’s Day Care Package

father's day - care package for dad in military

Good news: there’s still time to put together a sweet little package from your family to arrive on Father’s Day. Better news: you can get everything you need at the dollar store.

Whether he’s traveling for work or at a military base overseas, Dad likely doesn’t have tons of space for giant teddy bears or massive framed photos, so you can save on shipping and still put a huge smile on his face. Just throw together a pack of his favorite candy (beef jerky or trail mix work great if he’s not a candy guy), add a homemade card from you and the kids, toss in a wallet-sized photo of your clan, and write him a little personal note spritzed with your perfume. (Not the perfume type? You can roll your deodorant across the back.) If you’re able to, ask to FaceTime while he opens it… but if you can’t, don’t stress. Just know he’ll be psyched to open your package.

Take Him on a Tour of Your Day

father's day video phone

If you can’t coordinate a FaceTime sesh or get it together in time to mail a care package, don’t fret—you’re parenting without your kids’ dad, and you still deserve a medal for that! You can still put the “Father” in Father’s Day by taking him on a virtual tour of your day, no matter what you’re planning. Food fight at breakfast? Take a quick video and send it to Dad. Trip to the park? Take some footage of the kids on the swings, add a boomerang effect, and message him ASAP. No matter where you go, Dad can “come with” through photos, video, and your oh-so-clever commentary (aka exhausted emojis) via text message. Even if he can’t respond right away, he’ll love going over all the footage when he’s reunited with his phone. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Are you celebrating Father’s Day without Dad this year? What does Father’s Day look like for your family if Dad is in the military or otherwise away? Tell us your story in the comments!

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