Sunday, June 18, 2006

No, please, not Father's Day

Father's Day conflicts me. Every. Single.

I'm not whining and would despise pity when I say I don't know my dad. I simply don't know him. And it's not that I'm not welcome in his home. I could make the four hour drive; I know the way. He and his wife, Lou, would politely invite me into their split level living room to sit on the comfy couch, offer me a coke, and Lou would talk about the weather and the latest news on television. She might even mention my half brother and sister whom I wouldn't recognize standing behind me in the Kroger buying United Dairy Farmers icecream. I think I held my brother as a newborn, but he's probably changed- a whole lot since infancy.

The last time I visited my dad's house was in the sixth grade, long before I could drive. Is it just that I'm out of the habit of dropping by?

The whole painful F.D. ordeal begins for me early in the week the moment I stand in Target to make my Father's Day card selections. It's a cake walk to pick a card for Uncle Laughter, my mother's husband, my father-in-law, and my husband. I enjoy friendship with these charming men. On the other hand, I can never find the right card for my dad, so I never buy one. Does that make me a horrible person? How could I possibly buy a dad card for someone I don't have a clue about? When I sit near him in my sister's kitchen or at a funeral every five years or so, he's silent and sullen. Tips from Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People don't work with him.

Why is that I can hang with my quiet cousin Nadine in a constant vegetative state more easily than my dad? One difference is that I can tenderly touch Nadine.

Before Buck and I had children, I avoided Father's Day altogether. When the sun rose, I'd pull the covers over my head. After getting out of bed, I'd keep busy all day to escape nagging thoughts. Oh, and I'd make an appointment with my therapist on the following Monday well in advance.

On the other hand, my husband has the most intimate of daddy relationships with our children. Buck plays and works with the boys. He spoils his daughter endlessly. His great admiration for his little people is evident in the visible sparkle in his eyes. His life centers and winds around his children and myself like lush green ivy on a professor's brick house. How could I be so lucky? So blessed?

And I see that same twinkle in Buck's father's eyes for his son, our children, and even me.

Most importantly, my heavenly Father's eyes shines brightly over me. I have all I need. In fact, I have need to celebrate this holiday.

However, even with all I need, Father's Day haunts me like an Dicken's apparition reminding me of something mournfully unresolved. There's still time, but without a starting point beyond prayer, I'm at a loss. I wonder how much longer?


Questing Parson said...

I'm hesitant to make this comment, but ... As one who did not know his father until he was 38, and then met him six weeks before his death, who knows much of the pain you have experienced, next year send the card. Just pick a generic card. Send it with NO expectations (your experience tells you any expectation will be disappointed). Send it, not for your father, send it for yourself.

~m2~ said...

oh, my sweet friend, i know your pain and lived it for many, many years. like the wise and sage questing parson stated above, generic is good, no expectations even better --

i had found out my father had been struck with a debilitating illness the day i came home from the hospital after major surgery. it had been over 23 years since we had seen each other in person and now all i knew is his legacy to us kids would be the potential of having an heriditary and potentially fatal illness.

thanks, dad.

about five months after learning of this my daughter asked if i ever called him. i said "why would i? what would i say?" she said, "how about you start with 'hi'?" ahh, the wisdom of a then 9 year-old.

that very moment, i did. and what i was able to capture in the seven months preceding his death was but for the grace of God. i can tell you more about it later, but suffice it to say, i am so glad i made that call.

nothing miraculous may ever happen, my vyne girl. nothing supernatural may ever occur -- you have God filling those recesses of your heart. sounds like your father is more of a simple man - you don't need to be his best friend, nor him yours. just reconnecting in some fashion may be a small start to something honest and humbling.

just a thought.

~peace, dear.

truevyne said...

Dear Questing and P,
Next year I'll reread your comments and buy the card.
I think I've resolved all other hurdles, but I see F.D. remains, and the card is most likely some last stand I don't need anymore.
Other holidays, like Christmas, my children and I spend days making special presents and my dad and his wife are very much a part of that.

John said...

I wonder if we should celebrate Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day. Especially at church. At the last Mothers' Day, our church made a bit to-do about it. Had a thematic pot-luck afterwards. My wife cried in the car on the way home and said that she would never again go to church on Mothers' Day.

truevyne said...

Dear John,
I watched a dear friend run from the Mother's Day service as I was handed a rose. She'd been infertile for 18 years. Man, did I hate that moment.
Later I gave her the rose, because she had such a mother's heart.