Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Father's Day Gift That Costs Nothing.

The Headlines:


Dad's Day is coming up.

Give him the present of words.



About this time of year, every year, the topic of "Father" comes up in full force.  Commericals, stores, even blogs like this one remind you Father's Day is on the horizon.  The day we are supposed to dedicate fully and soley to the man who, hopefully, raised us.  There's pressure to buy them golf clubs, watches, ties… but really, none of that matters.  It might make them feel good in the moment, they can tell their friends, "my son got me -----"  but shouldn't there be more?  You bet!

A day like the one coming up often makes me stop and think how lucky I am.  To have a dad, you say?  Yes, simply to have one.  Some of us, less you forget, have a Dad that is no longer on this earth.  Some never had a Dad in the picture at all.  And then maybe the most devastating yet are those of us who have a Dad, in the picture, maybe even in your face, but you prefer to act like he isn't there.

Crazy?  Sure.  Because sooner than later he won't be.  I've always lived like this… even as a young, teen.  On holidays, certainly on a day as important as Father's Day… I always told my Dad how much he meant to me in a letter.  I have long loved to write and so this came easy to me.  But as I've grown I began to realize it isn't as easy for others.  In fact, for most it's down right impossible.  Simple, honest feelings are hard for people to express… even to their own dad.

Unfortunately, the flip side of that is that you never tell them how much they mean to you.  You assume they know.  But what's left unsaid, to me, is just unsaid.

My Mom had a Mother whom she felt never really cared much about her.  In her eyes, she wasn't shown real affection… certainly not through written cards.  She rarely actually even said encouraging things throughout my Mom's life and it bothered her greatly.  To this day, it still does.  My Mom never told her Mom how much it upset her and she never will.  My Grandmother died when I was pregnant with my daughter 7 years ago.  But until my Mom stops breathing, it will be with her.  If only my Grandma could have written one, heartfelt note to her daughter (my mom)…  it may have changed everything.

This week my children are writing/drawing their dad letters.  Actually, my 7 year old will write and my 3 year old will add some pictures, or scribbles, call it.  We will not buy him something expensive and flashy, instead we will make him something.  Something that comes from the heart, something that will make him smile and something he will remember.  That's what most Dads really want.

Two weeks before my wedding 10 years ago my Dad had a massive heart attack in the middle of the night.  He "died" on the table, I'm told several times.  Luckily, and maybe miraculously, he lived to tell the story.  But if he had left me on the fateful day, while I would have been devastated, I would have had no reservations.  No I-wished-I-would-have… because I already did.
Me and Dad 
My dad ended up having a stent put in, attended my wedding with a beaming smile and now I talk to him almost every other day.  He knows how important he is to me but none-the-less I sent him a card this year anyways.  Not a funny/baseball/construction/fart card… just a handwritten note telling him how much he matters.  Because if you don't tell them, they may never know.  I want my Dad to know.  I want him to know how much he means to me, how I'm so proud of him and who he helped me become.  I want him to know I appreciate him, I learned and thrived through him.  I want him to know he made and then saved my life many times over.  I wrote all of that and more in his card this year so… he knows.

BP (the husband) and I usually exchange handwritten cards on most holidays.  Sometimes, when I get mad at him (during an argument) I think ahead to the next holiday and envision "I'll show him, this Father's Day I'll just write - Happy Father's Day - on the card"  I never do.  I still write what my heart sings because I also need him to know.

Husband, BP, and kids!
My hope is that my daughter and my son will also write what their heart sings - I'd rather them yell their feelings rather than whisper them - God knows it's hard to do.  But in the end I'm positive it makes life, perhaps, so many lives… easier, happier and better all around.

So Happy Father's Day to mine and every other Dad out there.  May you get the gift that costs nothing but is worth everything.


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