Father’s Day Without Dad

I have always joked that my dad would not have known it was Father’s Day unless we told him. That kind of thing just wasn’t important to him. He didn’t need presents, he didn’t need cards, he didn’t need flowery words. In fact, he preferred not to get any of that sort of thing (which worked for me!) But Father’s Day was always family lunch day and that he always enjoyed, or quietly tolerated… we have very loud family gatherings, where he would sit in his recliner and alternately get in short conversations,  watch the family antics with amusement, or watch television, oblivious to us all.

Many of you know my died died December 18. This is the year of first everythings without him. Father’s Day has always been a rather benign holiday to me (because it wasn’t important to dad at all….and he never wanted to be the center of attention). It almost was funny to me….to watch him trying to be gracious for something he just didn’t care about. But we celebrated him regardless.

This year it’s not light and easy. The things that lead up to the day that I never really noticed (the advertising, for example) seem to be everywhere.To tell you the truth, this year I am annoyed by the day. This is a feeling that I don’t believe will last into future years….because the day really is sweetly benign…but this year I believe I am allowed to indulge in feeling sorry for myself a bit.

 I find myself  mocking the retail advertisers in my head as they make statements that seem so stupid in my situation Universal messages just aren’t universal.. “What would your Dad like for Father’s Day this year?” “Another day with his family, Belk. Are you selling that?”

The emails…..Open Table telling me to make my reservations to treat my dad (he really didn’t care about going out to eat. He preferred Mom’s food…..or takeout.) K-Mart’s “Dress Dad for Adventure”. Sorry K-Mart….it may be difficult and I don’t think you have anything that fits. Except a gift bag perhaps. “The best books to buy for Dad”…. I just wish I could. He did love his books.The one gift you could buy him that he just may like.

I wanted to avoid our regular family celebration this year….and did not bring it up. I figured I would go hiking or do something else solitary. But I am not the only member of my family for whom this will be a tough day, and I know being together will not be an over-emotional outpouring, but our easy-going norm. That is always comforting. My nephew and his dear wife (who lost her dad way too young, so has experienced this loss for a lot of years) are going to host lunch and weather permitting we will enjoy the pool. It’s not going to be the same, and not everyone in the family is going to be there. But that is the good thing about my family….we do what we need or want to do. There are no tight ropes. Whether together or not, the bond will be there. While I could choose solitary for the day, being with family, doing something a bit different, seems right. While Father’s Day will always be about our Dad, how we each choose to celebrate it is fine. And he would approve. His needs were so few, it always was more about what we needed.

What media story about Father’s Day actually made me feel better? Weather permitting, NASA plans to launch a rocket that releases colored vapors that become bright colored clouds. My dad’s first jobs were related to the space program and everyone who knows me knows I love glow-in-the-dark. The idea of the skies lit up between earth and heaven… it seems perfect this year and makes me smile. Whether it happens or not….I love that it could.. http://www.wmur.com/article/nasa-hopes-for-father-s-day-launch-to-create-colorful-clouds-in-the-night-sky/10036871

Happy Father’s Day Dad. On earth or in heaven, the truth doesn’t change. It is a great fortune to have a dad that was steadfast and strong, that cared that the humans he raised be truthful,  hard working, and kind. You could care less if we made tons of money or met some crazy definition of success or perfection (good thing!). Loving you was always easy. That love lives eternally….and that is what I celebrate this and every Father’s Day. But still…..I will miss the hugs. And the conversation.

1 Comment

  1. What a great tribute to a wonderful​ man. My thoughts are with your family on this 1st Father's day without Bob.


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