My Dad died when I was 19, so I’ve spent more Father’s Days without him than with him. Even though he’s not around to celebrate on this holiday, he is most certainly in my thoughts.
To be honest, I think about my Dad every day. I keep a picture of him on my desk, and since I’m named after him, it’s impossible to go a day without hearing someone say my father’s name.
Father’s Day can be difficult. My news feed on Facebook is a photographic reminder that the world is showing even more paternal love than usual, and that makes me wish I could be gifting my Dad an ugly tie and taking him out to dinner.
But I don’t let the holiday get me down. Instead, I take some time to reflect on how much my Dad meant to me, and how he still impacts my life today.
I’m never quite sure he knew what to do with the nerdy, artistic son who came along when he was 44, but my Dad was incredibly supportive.
When it came time for college, there was a lot of pressure from certain family members to choose a more “realistic” major. There was a strong argument made that I should put my Math skills to use as an accountant. Or if I really insisted on writing, why not major in English and become a professor? That way, I had a fallback career should I fail at writing.
But Dad took me aside and told me he supported whatever decision I made. I don’t know if he ever really ever “got” my writing, but he knew it was important to me. And he believed that I would be a success if I gave it my all.
My Dad’s belief in me and my writing still keeps me going all these years later.
Unfortunately, Dad never got to see me succeed as a writer. I was still in college when he passed away, but I was learning how to become a screenwriter because he supported my decision to go to Film School.
Dad never got to meet the woman I would marry, but at least that means he didn’t have to suffer through my divorce. Although, I really could have used him then. No matter how bad things got, I never saw my Dad down. He always had a smile on his face, and I think his superpower was his ability to make anyone smile in any situation.
Dad never got to visit me in Maine. I know he would have loved The House on the Hill and the easygoing way of life Maine has to offer. Knowing Dad, he would have been best friends with my entire neighborhood after his first visit.
Dad never got to see his scrawny, uncoordinated son become a dedicated runner, capable of winning Wellness challenges. While Dad was never a runner himself, he is one of the reasons I’m so dedicated to the activity, and I’d want him to know that.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad was sick. There was always some ailment that kept him from being 100%. My Mom died when I was 3, so my family history of poor health has been a huge motivating factor in my running program.
Not that he would ever tell me about it.
The smartest kid in his class, the one who read The New York Times at the breakfast table when he was seven, doesn’t have a job befitting his promise and potential.
The writing career, while having a few exciting highlights, hasn’t amounted to much.
There are no grandchildren to carry on the family name.
I’ve never become the people person that my Dad was. I’d give anything to have his personality, confidence, and ability to warm up to total strangers.
Like I said, my Dad never led me to believe I was a disappointment, and I know he’d never let me think that were he around today to see me operating at less than my full potential.
I just wish he were here because I miss him so much. His love and support was like this rousing pep talk that I never even realized I was receiving, but always worked wonders.
Sometimes, I feel like there is a hole in my life, and I always just assume it’s from the lack of a romantic relationship, or because I don’t have the career I want.
But now I know it’s because I miss my Dad.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I promise I will work harder to live up to your name and make you proud…