Today’s Father’s Day and I didn’t buy my father anything. No card. No tie. No 5 dollar trinket I found at the last minute. No half assed, forced phone call. This year I got him absolutely nothing and it feels great.
How can I say that about my father? Shouldn’t a good daughter feel guilt or remorse for snubbing him? After all, without him I technically wouldn’t be here. But does that one single act of irresponsibility in his case justify the need for a gift, a card or even a phone call?
The decision to not get my father anything for Father’s Day was not a sudden one. The idea came upon me gradually throughout the years. You see, my mom and dad never married. They were never really a couple. But my mom had me anyway, he never really fought for custody, and so my mom, grandma, uncles, sister and cousin lived in relative harmony the first few years of my life.
When I was younger, my dad would come to the house and bring me things like strawberries, ice cream, chocolate bars, and a cheap, portable TV here or there. He would bring his mom or sister to see me every once in a while. (Despite that, he never bought any his other children to see me.) He’d also bring me a birthday or Christmas card with money. When I was little I was happy with that.You see, when you’re 5,6, or 7, you don’t need much. You don’t need money to pay bills or schools so what he gave me was great. I didn’t really feel the emotional need for him because I’ve always had my two uncles to pick up the slack and play the father figures in my life.
But as I got older, the visits and trinkets began to stop. The Christmas and birthday cards began to come later and later. He would disappear for months at a time and if I called it would take him weeks, sometimes months, to get back to me.
When this happened, I pulled away from him. After a while you just stop calling or expecting a visit although I did do my best to reach him for a while. After that, it was what it was. I didn’t really need him or want him in my life at that point. It seemed the feelings were neutral.
My mom got cancer and she couldn’t provide for me as well I could she used to. I was entering college, the expenses were mounting, and she was sick. I didn’t want to be a burden to her, so I asked him for help. He didn’t. But I managed to get through my first year. My second year of college didn’t go as smoothly. I was attacked and needed to come home because I was a wreck. My father wasn’t even willing to help get me home. He didn’t even show me much concern. At that point I had completely written off “dear old dad” as he likes to call himself.
As angry and bitter I am about my father, I have not gone without a positive male influence. My uncle Benny is one of the most awesome guys I know. He used to help me with my homework and school projects. He drives me to work and down to college. He cheers me up when I’m upset. He helps pay for my schooling and other expenses. He’s always been there and helped raise me. A girl really couldn’t ask for more, so of course I got him something.
If you have a good dad, celebrate him and be proud of him. Treat him like a king today. If you don’t know your dad or he’s the scum of the earth, that’s okay too. Not everyone is cut out to be a parent. But if you turned out okay without him, then you really didn’t need him in the first place.