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.
This will be my 30th Fathers’ Days without him, so I’ve gotten used to it, but I will always miss him. Dad would have been 87 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. No comment.
- He loved sailing, riding his bike* and James Bond.
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 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 knowing that you made me shave my beard.
I recall sitting across the dining room table from him at dinner while he angrily pulled out a clump of what little hair he had, showing me what the radiation treatments for his brain tumor were doing to him. So, I’d love to shave my head in solidarity with him–make me do it. Donate now.
Dad would probably hate to see me shave my legs. 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 a Dad could meet his grandkids, means that a baby could see his brown eyes reflected in his grandfather’s brown eyes, Dad would be all for it.
After all, wherever he is, he’d love to get a phone call from me too, 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.
* Mileage match
Since Dad loved riding his bike, I’m announcing a mileage match in his honor. For every dollar donated between June 9 and Fathers’ Day, I’ll ride a mile on my bike in July…up to 500 miles. I am only human, after all.
This won’t be easy, if you match me up to 500 miles. This May I rode almost 400 miles and it just about wiped me out, so 500 will really stretch me out. But I’ll do it for Dad, and for all the other dads out there who deserve to live to see another Fathers’ Day.