The day I dreaded more than any other. Starting with the card, the one I was forced to pick out by a mother who appeared oblivious to the pain around her (but, that is another story, a Mother’s Day story).
When I close my eyes, I can see me standing and staring at a wall of cards, looking for one that said the right words. The problem was there were no cards out there that said what I felt. There were no cards that said “Happy Stinkin’ Father’s Day. Thanks for hurting me every day. You’re the Best!!” I could come up with other sayings but the card stores were not about to put those on the shelf.
Year after year I was forced to pick out a card and year after year the dread would fill my soul. As each year passed my dread turned into despise and I resorted to just grabbing the first funny card I could find and signing my name. I would not even look at it. Eventually I didn’t have to buy a Father’s Day card and I would move through the day like it was any other on the calendar.
Things changed when I had children of my own and I went out to buy cards for their dad. I remember clearly that first Father’s Day as a new parent. The fear and anxiety I felt walking to the card selection was palpable. I wanted to grab and go! I couldn’t do that, I had to face that deep dread that was still lurking in my soul. I stood there frozen for what seemed like forever and then the light came on…I was buying a card for an amazing father. I looked through the selection and found the perfect card. It is amazing how many great cards are out there for great dads!
My boys are now men and they are picking out their own cards for their dad and I get to buy the one that thanks him for being such a great father. I was surprised when all of these emotions came flooding to the surface while I spent a few days out west. I was surrounded by beauty that only the west can provide; The majestic mountains, and the lush green tree’s scattered around the reddish- orange dirt that was a stark contrast to the vivid blue sky above. I was standing before a dam and the water was majestic. The sun played on the water just right in the late afternoon. A beautiful green hue shown through the water and the sublimation was unbelievable. Nearby, there was a father and his daughter looking at the same beauty I was enjoying. She had the biggest smile on her face and called out to her father; not in the flat tone I would use with my father, but with a ringing joy of “Daddy, look at this. Daddy, take my picture. Daddy, let’s take a picture together!”
As I walked back through the large boulders surrounding me, I was reminded of what a gift a father is and how important they are in our lives. They can bring joy or fear, the choice is theirs. It was clear watching that Daddy and his daughter that he cherished her and she adored him. She was radiant with joy because of the safety she felt with her father.
This father’s Day I decided to take a different stance. It started with me heading to the store to buy cards I have never bought before…cards for the men in my life who have filled the vital role of father. I walked up to the wall of cards and rather than dread, I experienced excitement as I began sorting through the vast selection. I was shocked when the first card I found said EVERYTHING I wanted it to say. I beamed as I searched for others and found them with ease!
As Father’s Day approaches and the hurts of childhood surround some of you, determine to change the way you think of Father’s Day. If you have a man in your life who has been the daddy you always needed and wanted, let him know. If you have not had that, pick a dad who is a great dad and let him know. The greatest beauty of living is recognizing we can change the meanings that have attached themselves to days and things.
Happy Father’s Day tothe great men who have been there for me and were able to show me that not all men are out to hurt you!
ToALL the great Daddy’s out there, thank you for being you!
P.S. I miss you Gramps!