I didn’t write anything about fathers on Father’s Day.
I’ve written about my dad before, “My dad taught me a lot of things: how to find the North Star, how to make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, how todrive in a New England winter. He taught me to value diversity of opinion and honesty of expression, to choose good, smart people to be in my life, to believe that I can do and be anything I want.”
Do I call my parents enough? Of course not; I’m in my twenties and epically self-involved. When I do, it takes half an hour of rambling about work drama or explaining why they must read this blog or that blog (they obviously don’t read blogs) before I get around to asking about them, at which point, I inevitably need to get on a bus, or talk to my roommate, or make a sandwich.
But I try. I really do. I show them pictures of my friends and draw them maps of my neighborhood. I throw links and clips their way to try to bridge a 1,000-mile, five-state gap that I created and solidified. Calling with good news, or bad news, or just to tell them about a book I’m reading and eventually ask about their homes and work and friends and activities, that’s what I can do right now.
I don’t mean that that’s all I can do right now. Rather, I mean that I am lucky enough to be able to do that, and so I should. More.
My friend Kate wrote an amazing essay about her first Father’s Day since her dad passed away in November. “For those who have lost a father, Father’s Day is a day for everyone else to remember what you think about every day.” It’s about the luxury of taking one’s father for granted.
Yesterday, I wrote a short obituary for my uncle, who I admired and respected with all my heart. He was the definition of a family man, and his warmth, good cheer and sincerity were such beacons of optimism in an increasingly cynical and sarcastic world. How does one even begin to encapsulate a life’s worth of children and homes and golf and love and laughter and talk in something a newspaper charges you $8 a line to print?
One word at a time, I learned. Just like you write anything else.
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