After reading the title, I’m sure I need to explain with some additional information. It’s not that I hate my father. On the contrary, I adore him. When I think of my dad, I think of a large man, barrel-chested and looming at 6’3″, with blue eyes that crease when he smiles. He enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, and considers any home improvement project officially started when first blood has been shed. While he is considered by many to be a “man’s man,” this is also the father of four daughters, raising us on John Wayne, Star Trek, and musicals. He knows all the words to “Hello Dolly” and has been to every dance, orchestra, and choral recital. He is the person I call when I’m confused about my loans or want to discuss social issues. He is a wonderful father and I’m so lucky to have him.
However, Father’s Day is so rarely about fathers.
It’s about the new Craftsman drill, just $99 dollars. It’s about the sales booming at Lowe’s and Home Depot and Bass Pro Shops. It’s about the newest slew of holiday cards, dressed appropriately in blue and covered in pictures of trucks and beer, that grace the Hallmark racks at retail stores. It’s about proving to your father that you love him through how much money you spend. It’s the affection of capitalism. It’s consumerism in place of sentiment.
My dad has never cared for Father’s Day, or any other holiday for that matter. Whenever my sisters and I asked him what he wanted, he would always answer, “For my girls to be good and to spend time with my family.” We would all moan and groan, whining about him taking us seriously. What I have realized is that he was perfectly serious. He was not a man impressed by material goods or the newest gadget and gizmos. He is a man that thinks time is worth more than money and that giving him our time was the greatest gift he could ever be given.
So, for Father’s Day, I ignore the flashy sales and Hallmark cards. When people ask what I gave my father, I say “Nothing.” Because what I gave him cannot be wrapped or decorated with a bow. Instead, I gave him a call that evening, after a day of playing golf, and had a conversation. We talked of my future plans and how much our feet hurt and that we had already seen this episode of Law and Order. Then, I told him I loved him and he said, “I love you too.”
Those are words I give him every day. I don’t need a reason, or a holiday, to do so.