My dad was not the kind of dad written about in Father’s Day cards. He didn’t golf. He didn’t fish. He didn’t wear polo shirts. This made Father’s Day rough, especially because his birthday was in extreme close proximity. He had actually been born on a Father’s Day. When asked what he wanted for Father’s Day, he usually requested socks. He did not wear interesting socks either. He had a very specific preference for thin, black socks. This did not make for interesting gift giving options. In fact, it didn’t give my sister and I many options at all.
I recall lots of homemade coupons to wash and clean his car when we were kids. Also lots and lots of ties. So many more ties than even a man who wore ties every day to work probably needed. Even still, he looked at each tie and said he liked it. Whether we got him a goofy tie which was not his style or a simple stripped tie, he always said he liked the tie. On rare Father’s Day our mom would buy something for us to give him for his main hobby, stamp collecting. This was usually a very boring looking book. My dad would open it and his eyes would light up and he would immediately thumb through the book. He would even read aloud despite the fact that we had no interest whatsoever. It was Father’s Day, we humored him.
Once my dad retired, the gift giving became even more difficult as his tie wearing reduced drastically.
And then my dad lost his eye sight through a strange series of events that starts with pigeons. We switched from books to books on tape. It was unbelievable hard but not because I didn’t know what to get him for Father’s Day. It was hard to see my dad who loved reading, watching tv and organizing his stamps, not be able to see any of things he loved. It was heart breaking actually.
I wish I remembered the last Father’s Day I had with my dad more clearly. I was 21. I recall a fancy dinner out with my whole family at some point during that month that was supposed to be a kind of joint birthday/mother’s day/father’s day celebration. I have no idea what I got him for that last Father’s Day. Or if I even spent Father’s Day with him. I might have been busy, off seeing friends as I had just returned home for the summer from college. I didn’t know it was even close to the last Father’s Day. It was before he started to have health problems. Before we even knew something was amiss. Before all the tests. Before the results. It was just another Father’s Day. Nothing special.
I hope that even though I didn’t know it was the last, it was a good Father’s Day for him. Even though I can’t remember it, I hope it felt special. I hope he knew he was a great dad. Even though he wasn’t the father written about on Father’s Day cards, I hope he knew he was the perfect dad to me.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Even though you never golfed, fished or wore a polo shirt, you taught me so much and always made me feel loved. And I love you too.