Monday, June 6, 2011

Holidays, Duct Tape, the 18th, and Dad.

My first Father’s Day without my dad is coming. 

I’ve been thinking about that, off and on, since Mother’s Day.  The thing is that the 18th of each month, for me, is lived a little differently since last September—there’s a subconscious sadness to that day, and about halfway through, I take note of the calendar, and I understand why.  Halloween (he was always the one to take me trick-or-treating—rather, running full tilt and falling in lava rocks—each year), his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, a new year…they’ve all come to pass, and with each I thought about what used to be for those days. 

But let’s be honest, I don’t need a specific holiday to remember my dad.  I think of him every time my husband pulls our utility trailer behind our SUV, because Dad took him outside and taught him how to drive with a trailer before we moved cross-country, and had he not also taught him how to back up with one, we might still be stuck somewhere.  I think of him when I see his gold chain peek up from my husband’s shirt collar—Brian hasn’t taken off Dad’s arrowhead necklace (which he wore for as long as I can remember) since it was given to him, and I love him all the more for that.  I think of him when WD-40, duct tape, Husqvarna or NASCAR is mentioned, and driving home from the grocery store last week, I saw my dad’s doppelganger, shirtless (as anyone who knew him could attest he always was), on a riding lawn mower, and I smiled because he’d have enjoyed being that guy.

Yeah, I think about my dad all the time, so why should one day be more profound than another?  Because to not have a dad to send a card to or talk on the phone with, on a day that’s specifically meant for one—that’s something else, entirely.  By now, I’d usually be deciding which nuts to send him (tradition), picking out either a sarcastic card or one with a Chihuahua on it (couldn’t go wrong with one of those), and my husband would be trying to procure a company t-shirt for him (because they were, for some reason, his favorite).  But not this year.  This year, someone’s missing from the equation, and there’s only one dad to buy for: my husband.

I think, this year, I’ll probably be more mindful of the gift my daughter and I have in my husband, the good dad he is to our girl.  And along with his card and present, I think I’ll tell him that.

To those who have dads around—who fuss at you, aggravate you…who love you and tell people behind your back how proud they are of you—take the time to make or pick out the perfect card this year, not just the one that “will do.”  Take an extra second to give a hug you mean, not just one in passing, and when you say “I love you” this year, think about all the ways you mean it, and trust that—though your heart says it with the same conviction when they’re gone—it feels much different when the person you say it to isn’t there to say it back.

And to those, like me, who have dads with them in spirit this Father’s Day, know that you honor them by mindfully taking the time to appreciate the other good dads in your life.  And know that if you listen hard enough, they're probably still fussing at you…but more than that, know they never stop loving you, either.

*How often, you might ask, can duct tape come up?  Quite often around here, actually, because duct tape creations are the hottest thing since silly bands at my daughter's school.  My mom and I have come to the conclusion that dad would be proud.

*Husqvarna?  After his Bultaco (which I always thought was Bull Taco) dirt bike, he got his Husky.  Brian's looking for a new lawnmower, and Husqvarna keeps coming up in his "wants."

Also See:
-To a Dad, From a Daughter  
-It Is Written; It Is So.