Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Dilemma of Buying a Father's Day Card

Although my father has always been a presence in my life, I can't really say he has been a great dad.

As an adult, I can reflect on this and logically state that I don't think he ever understood what it meant to be a dad. That's why it's always difficult to get him a card. 

I have to make sure none of the cards are too mushy and make me out to be a liar. I can't get the "Great Dad" or "Awesome Dad" cards, because, that's just not true.

On the other hand, it can't be too formal, like "To You, On Father's Day," because then it will seem like I don't care. Which would also be a lie. I do care about my dad.

Parents have it rough. And not everyone can be great, or even good. Lucky for me, I have a great mom. But I can't be that honest. Imagine the horror on my fathers face if the card said:

 "Lucky for me, I have a great Mom. Happy Father's Day!"

Yeah. That would not be nice.

This year I spent an hour in Hallmark looking for the right card. I found it! I also found a good one for my mom on father's day. It says, (you guessed it), "To Mom, On Father's Day." She's going to love that one. Despite this wonderful discovery, we cannot expect our mothers to be fathers too. They can only be the best moms they can be (remember that, moms!)

Nevertheless, having a father is important. Having a positive male role model is not always easy to come by. That's why I love this public service announcement:

Isn't that cute?

For those of us who didn't have the best dad or the greatest dad, or a dad at all, people like me have managed to assemble father figures when we needed them most. That's what I did.

I don't preclude my dad on Fathers Day, I just add more cards to the stack to celebrate those that stepped in when my dad couldn't.

Here's to celebrating the men who were there for me when I needed a dad:

My grandfather was there during my teenage years to give me sound advice and to apoyarme (support me) when it came to my goals, hopes and dreams. He was always the wise one. The strong male role model.

Our family friend "Gonzalez" (we were friends with his sons) took us grocery shopping, to the movies, and to the pharmacy when we needed medicine. He was always the fun one. The one we could count on.

My cousin "Crespo" who shows me by example that a man can be a good husband and a good father. He was always the understanding one. The one who shows us there is hope for men like my dad.

Che, who listens to me gripe about my dad, but also helps me understand my father and see things through his eyes. He opened the door to empathy toward my dad.

And lastly, to my Dad himself, the one who tried. You definitely get credit for that, Dad. You're my father and I love you.

Happy Father's Day to the Dads and the Father Figures in your life!