Ahhh, Father’s Day. Facebook is filled with gushy, sweet odes to the wonderful man who took you bike riding, swung you by the arms and taught you to drive. Good for you and stop rubbing it in. I’ll bet he yelled at you when you came in late, and he may have even humiliated you for all time by walking into your sleepover wearing his favorite ripped Yankees T. But he was there, and how lucky you were.
My father never walked in on a sleepover, or taught me to drive. He chose to distance himself from my sister, brother and me when I was 4 years old. He decided he wanted a do-over. You know, like when you’re playing cards with your dad and you didn’t mean to put that card down and you say, “Can I have a do-over?” and he lets you. Or when you have three young children and a wife and you think, “Damn, I can do better than that,” and you dump them and get married again and have three more and you send them to college and take them to Europe on vacation. You know, do-overs.
So each year growing up, I would endure the sweet Father’s Day ads on TV and sad, “Oh, I’m sorry. You don’t have a father,” comments. My best friend invited me over for dinner because she felt sorry for me and thought that if I had dinner with her dad, or any dad, that would make me feel better. It was sweet, but ridiculous when I thought about it. Now I get to sit at your dinner table and see how awesome your dad is, and how funny he is when he shoots those peas at you across the table, and how he hugs your mom in the kitchen when he thinks nobody is looking. Then I go home and remember that my dad is in Europe with family #2, hasn’t called or sent child support in 8 years, and won’t take my brother’s phone calls.
But as I watch my husband all these years later with our daughters, I remember those stolen hugs in the kitchen years ago, and the peas shooting across the table. I remember how my friend’s father would hug me and even gave me a ride in his new Corvette. He yelled at me once (I’m sure I deserved it) and if he only knew how much I loved him for it. He was the model for what a father should be, for what I should expect my husband to be with my kids, and with me.
I see my husband and realize that not all fathers are asses who don’t take their responsibility seriously. If you have a father who’s an ass, you’re not alone. Go find one who isn’t and thank him. Oh, and thanks to Mr. Beakley for the ride and the hugs.