Choosing a Father’s Day card was always a challenge for me. I didn’t NOT want to send my father a card as that would be dismissive and possibly even be construed as cruel. But Hallmark had failed me on choosing the right words to describe my relationship with my dad. My dad was the curmudgeon type with rarely a nice word to say about me or any of my siblings – and there were 9 others. He called us selfish, surly, and stupid, all words I might use to describe him. So the yearly challenge of visiting the card store and choosing a card for him was a task I dreaded. If I got him one of those sappy cards, he would know I was disingenuous and more appropriately, a liar.
One year I thought I was in luck. My daughter reported that she was headed to the Hallmark store to find the right card for HER dad. This was the perfect opportunity to use my delegation skills and pass the job to her. Fifteen minutes later the phone rang! “Mom, there aren’t any good cards for Grandpop!” It wasn’t just me. A 17-year-old knew that you couldn’t send “fake” Father’s Day cards, to my father or anyone else.
I finally made the CVS discovery! CVS carried “funny” Father’s Days cards that were more appropriate for my dad and more fitting for our relationship. I found one that mentioned that he always called me with computer questions. Another funny one about what a terrible driver my brother was! When I found a great one, I immediately contacted a sibling and shared my secret. I often bought several duplicate cards I could use one for his birthday, at the end of June, and use it again NEXT year for Father’s Day.
I also was sad that none of the cards were fitting. I wanted to have a dad that taught me everything; a dad that I thanked for all he did. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was a good provider and he did educate me. My dad gave me a few gifts: my sense of humor, my love of show tunes and my ability to forgive. For those gifts, I am truly thankful. My dad died 3 years ago, at the beginning of June. I didn’t have to buy a Father’s Day card that year or a birthday card. And I was thankful for that.
People who have those dads that Hallmark writes about are lucky, for sure. But I’m still relieved now that I don’t have to face the row of cards in mid-June and feel the frustration of not finding the right one. I know, things could be worse…but they could have been better, too.