Making Father’s Day Matter

me & my dad ~ 1999

Just when I think I’ve got this dance down, that I’m close to mastering this exhausting waltz with grief, I trip over something that brings me to my knees.

I know it’s not fair or reasonable, but I’m a little bit pissed at all the retailers sending me emails with cheery Father’s Day reminders:  5 Ways To Tell Your Dad You Love Him or Give Your Dad The Best Gift Ever! Even a simple card for grandpas at Target –Happy Father’s Day, Papa! – had me scurrying to an empty aisle to catch my breath and wipe my eyes.

When my dad died eight months ago, I knew holidays without him would be hard. As a family, we have felt his presence on special occasions {heck, he basically called me on my birthday!} and we’ve found new ways to celebrate without him.

But Father’s Day is just feeling extra hard. I do have dads to celebrate; Brad is an amazing daddy to our boys and I have a soft spot in my heart for his father, who’s visiting us this week.

But I can’t help but focus on my own dad right now and how much I’m missing the chance to tell him this weekend – heart to heart, face to face – how much I love him. Last Father’s Day, we had a fabulous day at a Twins game. This Father’s Day, he’s gone. I believe everything happens for a reason…but it still sucks.

I would love another chance to sit down and chat, or see his name pop up on my cell phone, or dance a silly dance, or laugh till we cry over something ridiculous. Since I can’t, I’m hoping you will. For those of you who still have your dads, could you let them know how much they mean to you? I know that sounds cliche…but I really mean it. I would love so much to know you’re making this Father’s Day matter.

Last year, I gave my dad a card that said “I am because you are” on the front. I could have just signed it and called it a day…but, instead, I felt compelled to write a list of characteristics I possess because I learned or inherited them from him. Like kindness. Like work ethic. Like hay fever {thanks a lot}! Oh, he loved it! As he read the list out loud, it felt so good to celebrate {and tease him about} many of the things he’d passed on to me. And it’s such a comfort to me now, knowing I said what I needed to say.

I realize now, more than ever, what a gift it was to have a strong and loving relationship with my dad. I recognize and am so sorry that not everyone has that. But for those of you who do {or feel like a deeper connection is possible}, wouldn’t it be phenomenal to make this Sunday really meaningful? Call or write or share in-person how much your dad helped shape who you are. It’ll be an amazing gift for him and one you’ll never regret giving.

Seize the day. Say what you mean. Do a happy dance with your dad. And have a happy Father’s Day.