This is the text of the card I sent to my father for Father’s Day:
[Outside] Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
From your loving, talented, charming, devoted, unselfish, hardworking, smart, clever, ingenious, loyal, honest, admirable child…
[Inside] Who is so much like you!
I had a really hard time picking out a card for him. It was easy and fun to buy cards for my grandpa, my sister’s dad and my two uncles. Buying a card for MY OWN father was a bit awkward, though. I cannot remember the last time I bought my father a card for any holiday, particularly Father’s Day. I don’t know if I ever have. I don’t know if I have haver even said “Happy Father’s Day,” to him. I think that when I was younger, he just wasn’t around enough for it to matter. As I got older, he was pretty absent altogether so it didn’t factor in. I focused my Father’s Day attention on my grandfather who has always been the primary male figure in my life and that was fine.
Last Christmas, my father called me and he has been calling me ever since. He calls and chats about random things. Asks me about school and work and television shows. He sends me pictures of my sisters and invited me to some “family” gatherings. I haven’t been able to make it yet. My point is that he seems like he is trying to reach out and I can appreciate that. At first I was wary. I was sure he was only calling me because he needed an organ or something. I haven’t heard anything about kidney failure yet, so I think I’m in the clear.
All of the cards at Hallmark were about how daddy was such an inspiration. How he was there and taught you all these lessons. There were cards from daughters to fathers about being a model for how men should be. Always telling her she was beautiful and a princess. Cards about fathers being there for mothers. Man, none of those cards applied to my situation. Another thing about those cards that was weird was that they all said “Dad” on them. I have never called my father “Dad.” Ok, maybe I have, but not for over 10 years, that’s for sure. You ever know someone you never have to directly address? Well that’s how it is. I never address him directly. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to. Would I call him by his first name or would I go ahead and roll with “Dad”? I guess Dad is safer because I sure as hell ain’t calling him Daddy. I’m grown (although I still call my mom “Ma” or “Mommy” and one of my aunts “Auntie”).
I chose the card that I sent because it was more about me than about him. Then I wrote a little message inside saying that I hope now, since we’re getting to know each other again, that we’ll have an opportunity to see how much alike we really are and that I hope to find that he is all of those things as well. I dunno. Kind of lame, but it was the best I could do. I didn’t want to get a blank card, because it would have been too much pressure to write. Anything I have to say is a bit too heavy for a Father’s Day card.
We’ll see how things go with my father in the coming months. I haven’t seen him in a very long time but we’re supposed to be coming up with a time to meet up. He’s in Western NY, about 4.5 hours away. Which is not bad, but still. I wonder what the reaction to that card will be?