Friday, June 15, 2007
Father's Day (repost)
"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection."
-Sigmund Freud

I’ve never sent a Father’s Day card.

I was never the kindergartener drawing thick, shaky, waxy-rainbow letters on cheap construction paper; never an 8-year-old hovering above a block of wood, jar of decoupage and pile of magazine clippings trying to create the perfect Father’s Day collage. I was never an 11-year-old placing a handpicked treasure from the tie rack upon the gift-wrap counter at J.C. Penny’s. I’ve never poured through Hallmark’s seasonal section, looking for the perfect prose to express gratitude for my childhood.

I remember the projects. I remember the look of pity from teachers as they coaxed me through an “alternative” project. I remember being the only child-of-divorce in my classroom and how the absence of a father in my life was easy fodder for teasing. I recall a sense of deep shame about the secret I kept from my classmates. I was screwed up, but not stupid. I wasn’t about to tell them the father whose absence they teased about wasn’t really my father and that my real father had never even seen my face.

So, I’ve never sent a father’s day card or wrapped a handmade gift in delicate tissue paper, sealing it up with awkward chunks of shiny scotch tape. For me, those childhood rituals went the way of father/daughter dances and games of catch in the front yard. Like having a strong shoulder to cry on upon my first heartbreak, a fierce protector when I felt threatened, or a stern, loving voice when I needed reeling in, these things have never been part of my experience. But, I coveted them. And, at the age of 38, sometimes still do.

I would love to be able to say: “Today is just another day.” But, if that were true, it wouldn’t occur to me proclaim it so. I’ve learned it is better for me to steer into the empty places in my life than to try to fill them with replacements or distractions.

I have a father. I need only to hold the dozen or so photographs of him to know this with certainty. I have his face: his crooked smile, blue eyes, dimpled cheek and slightly weak chin. But that is as close as the two of us, father and daughter, will ever be: a pile of photographs and an unrealized dream.

Rhonda Ruminated at 5:17 PM | Permalink |

9 Ruminations:

  • At 10:16 PM, Blogger kim

    *hugs you* I wish so many things for you .... for today ill go with some peace and serenity, and a chance meeting with your father :)

  • At 2:48 PM, Anonymous mia

    Waxy-rainbow letters, awkward chunks of shiny scotch tape - well that's just dreamy and awesome and just plain perfect.



  • At 7:17 PM, Blogger Loz

    I'm sure that he too must spend some time thinking of you and I wish my 13 year old daughter would read this post.

    I have tagged you with a Thinking Blogger award.

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Jennifer McK

    Somehow, I knew you'd post today. And again, you've wrenched my guts and made me grateful for what I've had.

    My father died five years ago and I miss him so much today. But I'm so lucky I had him at all.

    Thank you for sharing this, Rhonda. As always, you've touched me in a profound and amazing way.

  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Rhonda

    Kim and Mia thank you so much for the thoughts. Jennifer, I am so sorry about the loss of your father.

    Loz: Wow! My first award. Thanks! I'm not sure 13 year old girls are even human. It is not a fun age for a parent. I understand it gets better though . . .

  • At 12:45 AM, Blogger Loz

    Well I'm honoured to be the first to bestow you with this award :)

  • At 2:11 AM, Blogger Kim Ayres

    Every year I get a father's day card from my (now) grown up stepchildren. Even though I've been in their lives for over 16 years it always surprises me they send me one, and it always moves me to tears.

  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger elizabeth

    Rhonda so many of your posts leave me weepy. This one included. I know a lot about unrealized dreams.

  • At 8:29 PM, Blogger Ben

    You take the sad and forlorn and lend it eloquence with your words. Thanks for sharing.