Just like every Father’s Day, I go to the card store to browse. Wondering if this year will be any different. Wondering if there’s one I could pick.
“Best Dad Ever!” Nope. He fled when I was two. Never wanted visitation. Never called. I saw him every one or two years for brief visits. An hour or two. Not enough to know him. Never on Father’s Day.
“Thanks for everything.” I think and think. What has he done for me? I look at the cards for inspiration. Sports. Picnics. Riding a bike. Nope, nope, nope.
“You were always there for me.” I remember the father-daughter events I always skipped over the years. At school. At Brownies. There was no way I was going by myself to see what I was missing. I remember calling him once. “Hello, Dad?”
“Who’s Dad?” he asked.
I didn’t know what to say. He realized it was his own daughter. Awkward.
My eyes well up with tears. I’m full of envy. What would it be like to have a father who deserved one of these cards? What would my life have been like with that type of support? That type of love?
I move on to the blank cards. What can I say? What can I write? Why do I do this every year, wasting time on what-ifs?
I know I can’t be the only one who struggles with Father’s Day. I know there must be other crappy Dads out there. But nobody ever talks about it.
I walk out of the card store, just like every other Father’s Day. No purchase made.
[Originally published June, 20, 2016]
Photo Credit: Katharine Chase at Unsplash
Jan L. Mayes MSc Aud(C) RAud is an international Eric Hoffer Award winning author, audiologist, and hearing healthcare educator. She specializes in tinnitus, hyperacusis, noise-induced hearing system damage, and darkly disturbing, macabre horror fiction.