I seem to run into this problem every year. I guess my relationship with my dad is different from the one that most kids had. I didn’t wreak havoc on the house, sneak out late at night or throw big parties behind his back. Conversely, I don’t worship my dad, holding him in such high esteem that it’s as if he’s a deity of some kind, I and don’t have an overbearing urge to validate who I am when I give a gift. Also, my dad is not a bumbling idiot or addicted to sports or an absent workaholic and his life does not revolve around beer. If any of these happened to me, the large majority of father’s day cards would be appropriate.

But they’re not.

So every year, I read 5,398 cards before I finally settle on one that’s remotely close to how I feel. Then, I struggle with what to write in the card, because I generally don’t like the obligation holidays (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). In my opinion, the person who’s the target of the day should know more often than once a year that they’re special. That being said, I do realize that it’s a nice opportunity to express those sentiments in spite of the obligation.

This year, instead of a sappy card, I bought him a funny card that struck a chord with me. It depicted a man, sitting in an easy chair, who - having lost the remote control - had rigged up an apparatus involving a wagon, the dog and a length of string to serve the function of changing channels. The caption mentioned something about always being able to solve life’s little problems. It made me think of all the times my dad had taken the time to sit with me through science projects or essays for school or whatever else and patiently walk me through each of the problems I encountered along the way. He always told me that when I faced a daunting list, that all I needed to do was start on the first problem and everything else would fall into place.

So, the next time you are coming up on one of the oblidays*, instead of broad strokes, pick something specific that you appreciate about the other person and let them know.

  • Yup, new word. In case Webster calls, you heard it here first.