Every year when Father’s Day is getting closer, you see commercials for Home Depot and Lowe’s advertising grills and tools to buy your father. Stores have sales on ties and belts. The card aisle is flush with cartoonish pictures of men in lounge chairs, playing golf, or fishing. But what about the dad’s that don’t fit this mold? My dad is way different and none of these stores cater to him.
My dad doesn’t like going golfing or fishing. He would prefer a loud rock concert. My dad hates wearing ties; he refers to them as a noose. He would rather wear a tie dye t-shirt and sandals. My dad doesn’t eat red meat, so grills, although used in the summer by my family, were never this big macho thing for him. He doesn’t drink beers like Budweiser or Coors. He’d prefer a Blue Moon or a pina colada. Honestly, he would prefer a joint over alcohol any day. He’s different than the stereotypical “dad” that is marketed to us, and I love him even more for it.
He’s not afraid to lift a finger and clean the house, grocery shop, or cook dinner. He can’t fix a car, but he can tell you every Beatles Album. He’s my dad and he doesn’t fit into the small box we provide fathers to fit in so they are acceptable by society. I can never find him a Father’s Day card at Walgreens or any drugstore. I normally have to make him one or find it on niche sites that cater to the “hippie dad!”
Instead of wasting my money on fishing poles, golf clubs, or tool boxes, I hit the record store and get him the latest CDs of his favorite bands. I buy him his umpteenth Grateful Dead tie dye shirt depicting one of their songs. I search high and low for rare records. I find him biographies of his favorite figures like Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and Keith Richards. He’s also a retired History teacher, so anything about Lincoln will suffice.
My dad and I are best buds. Where most daughters feel uncomfortable talking to their dads about anything, I could talk to my dad about relationship issues, gossip at school, and the latest trends and he would eat it up. He gives great advice and although he’s not super sensitive to sickness, he would always message me to say he’s sorry I’m sick and that the Grateful Dead always makes him feel better.
We can chat on the phone for hours. Mostly he updates me on the new CDs he’s bought (yes he still buys CDs), or concerts he has on the horizon or just went to, and the latest pop news. We are concert buddies for life. I loved growing up going to shows with my dad. Even when I was too cool to be seen with him, I’d slowly make my way back over after seeing young guys compliment his latest GD t-shirt. My mom may not think he is cool, but I sure do!
He’s always been there for me. He came to all my dance recitals. He edited all my papers and encouraged my desire to be a writer. He still calls me his baby, even though I’m the oldest child and I’m almost 30. I love it though. I will always be his baby. I will always need my Daddy, even after he walks me down the aisle this summer and “gives me away” to Ethan. Father Daughter relationships should never fade.
I know that a lot of children grow up without a father. I don’t mean in the case of same sex couples because they rock, but in the case of single moms and absent fathers. It is so easy for men to just walk away and not take responsibility for their actions, but those men who stick around and prove society wrong are improving their child’s upbringing. My mom is super tough and I bet she could have done it alone, but my parents happy, healthy relationship and my dad being always present in my life is one of the many reasons I’ve made it as far as I have.
He’s cheered me on at graduations, and financially supported my dreams to go to college and pursue my dreams. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. He’s quirky and unique, but I like that he isn’t macho and doesn’t shut off his emotions. He loves sports, but he doesn’t ignore his kids. He never had any addictions or walked out. He’s a stand up guy.
I also see a lot of him in me. We are both talkative and unafraid of talking to complete strangers. I also gained my love of music and travel from him. He taught me to have a big heart and love and treat everyone as I want to be treated. He taught in inner city Philadelphia for 37 years and he loved working with the lesser served students. He truly cared about the kids that got left behind by society. I admire him for that and am working in nonprofits in part due to both my parents sacrifices for the greater good.
So, even though I have to search high and low for a Father’s Day card that fits my dad, I wouldn’t change a thing. He breaks the mold and is the best Dad I could ever ask for. I can’t wait to walk down the aisle with him and see that glisten in his eye as he gives away his baby girl. What I hope he knows is that I’ll always be his baby and we will always be best friends even if Ethan is my husband.
I love you daddy! Happy Father’s Day!