I want the same thing every year: A voice on the other end of the phone line. A house to send a card to rather than a cemetery to send flowers to. An ugly tie or some ticky tacky electronics from Brookstone.
I want my Dad back.
Then again, I’ve got an overdeveloped sense of vengeance.
I’ve gotten through almost 30 Fathers’ Days without him, so I’ve gotten used to it, but I will always miss him. Dad would have been 86 this year, so there’s no guarantee that even if a brain tumor didn’t kill him when he was 57 he would still be alive, but I wish I could know rather than having to guess.
Some things I do know about him. He had brown eyes, like my brother and my son. He was left-handed, like me. He was bald. He didn’t like many vegetables, like brussel sprouts, so Mom never made them…for which I can’t thank him enough, really.
He also loved to be clean shaven. A story Mom told about him was that when she went into labor with her first baby, my oldest brother, she and Dad went to the hospital immediately. And waited. And waited. And waited.
By the time my brother arrived and my Dad could go back home–this was back when moms spent a week in the hospital after giving birth–it had been over a day and my Dad was disturbed–Mom’s word, not mine–that he had a day’s growth of beard. Disturbed enough that when Mom’s water broke for their second child, my oldest sister, the first thing Dad did was go into the bathroom, fill the sink with hot water and start shaving.
This is how I know that Dad would love seeing that you made me shave my beard. He’d laugh to know that I’m $5 from having to shave my head, so I’ll match him.
But he would probably hate to see me shave my legs. As Mom told me as I went through the androgynous 80s, sometimes sporting eyeliner and mascara to match my earrings–both ears, of course. Why do things in half measures? As Mom said, Dad really disliked femininity in men. From what I could gather, he didn’t hate the men, just wished they wouldn’t take on feminine characteristics.
On the other hand, Dad loved all of his kids, so I’m pretty sure he would have loved to meet and play with 3B and Jewel. Throw a ball. Ride a bike. Take them for a sail in his boat.
It makes me cry just to write that.
And so, if shaving my legs means that cancer will be cured sooner, means that a Dad could meet his grandkids, means that a baby could see his brown eyes reflected in his grandfather’s own brown eyes, Dad would be all for it.
After all, wherever he is, he’d love to get a phone call from me too, even if only to talk to his grandkids. He’d much rather get a card scrawled all over with markers than flowers on his grave. While it’s too late for him, we can stop this same fate befalling other dads and their kids by fighting cancer in any way we can.
That would be a gift my dad would love to get almost as an ugly tie, and you can give it to him.
Support my ride to make cancer history and you’ll make more Fathers’ Days possible.