I’m not one of those women who feels slighted or hurt if I’m not recognized on Mother’s Day– even though I am a mother.
I have a pretty jaundiced view of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day. As far as I’m concerned these holidays are designed to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of card companies and florists.
Yeah, call me a cynic. ‘Cuz I am.
On the other hand, I love my dad. I respect and admire him. He’s a good dad. Given the opportunity he would have been a better dad, even a great dad. It’s just that our messed up family dynamics didn’t allow him to reach his full potential. But still, he’s a good dad. My father is honest to a fault. He’s kind to children and animals. He hasn’t a cruel bone in his body. He adores his daughters.
I remember my father angry once, and only once. My mother had gone for the day and left us in his care. It was a school holiday so he had to work from home. As kids do when they know their monitor is otherwise occupied, we went a little nuts. We were seven, five and three. Ran screaming through the house for hours. Scattered toys everywhere. Engaged in a food fight.
I remember my father sitting at the dining room table, his law books spread out before him. He was preparing for a major child custody case. He had his head in his hands, trying to concentrate while my sisters and I had a big old pillow fight in the living room with the decorative pillows our mother had made verboten. No touching on pain of death!
My father pushed himself up from his chair. In a tone I’d never before heard, he said, “God. Damn. It.”
Three little words and we scattered at the speed of light. We gathered in my bedroom, hushed, trembling. We exchanged glances. We were so ashamed. We’d really done it. It was the first and last time we ever pushed my father.
So what do I think? I think he’s a remarkable man. I’m lucky he’s my dad.
He’s in his eighties now, still sharp as a tack, still speed-walks three miles a day, still reads everything he can get his hands on, still has endless patience with children and animals. Never utters a complaint.
I don’t know how much time he has left so I cherish every moment we spend together.
Love you, dad, with all my heart.