I was in the card isle at CVS a few days before Father’s Day, picking out cards for my dad. Everyone else appeared to be doing the same thing. The isle was packed. People stood a few steps away from each other gazing at the cards from a distance so not to block someone’s reach for a card. A shopping cart scraped the back of my leg when a lady tried to scoot it by me without so much as an “excuse me” or an apology.
I stood there for a while and browsed the cards. There was not much of a selection, especially in the “from daughter to father” category. I picked up a small yellow card and read the front cover. Although funny, it was not the kind of card I’d pick for my dad—I like to get the serious, emotional ones for birthdays, anniversaries, special days, you name it. Nothing over the top, but something subtle enough to get my message across that I appreciate and care for the person.
I picked up a pink card, and I instantly put it back down in its slot. I knew not to cross that line. But I was starting to get annoyed at the lack of selection as I continued grabbing cards and then returning them, dejectedly. I picked up one last card in the daughter category and ran my fingers over the image on the front. It was a picture of a little girl with her hand wrapped in her father’s, as they walked ahead from a distance.
I remember those days with my dad like it was yesterday. He was my best buddy—the man in my life. We did everything together, from playing dolls to shooting hoops. We sang together, we watched movies. We went to the zoo. We played baseball. I couldn’t be without him, and when I had to leave him, I’d cry.
There’s a picture I keep in my room of the two of us when I was around five years old. We’re in Disney World, and he’s holding me in his arms, standing next to Mary Poppins. That was my favorite movie, and we used to watch it together so much that my dad had to get another video of it, since I wore out the first one. Mary Poppins was my favorite person in the world, besides my dad. But I was scared to say hi to her, despite the gigantic grin on my face in the picture. My dad has a smile on his face too, but while I’m looking at Mary Poppins, he’s looking down at me. Glowing.
The card was perfect to give to my dad because it was a reflection of our relationship. We’re still that close, and I don’t think it will ever change. Almost perfect, if you will. Just like our Father’s Day.
Despite the bad weather, my family decided to make lemonade out of the lemons we were dealt and changed our plans for my dad’s celebratory day. Although spending the day down at the beach with the rest of our extended family, like we originally planned, would have been a nice relaxing day, we figured we’d move it to the backyard of our house and barbeque by the pool.
Everyone came over around noon. My aunts helped my mom in the kitchen, while my cousins and I gathered around and peeled fresh corn. Every five minutes another person would come strolling in the front door and make the way to the kitchen where we were gathered, and everyone would go crazy. It was a welcoming party. A welcome home party.
It felt good to see my family. I haven’t seen some of them in months—since Christmas, even. And it felt good to be able to sit and relax and take in the situation over filet and hotdogs and hamburgers and drinks, while the sun started to come out behind the clouds, and with the sound of the lapping of the water in the pool as it gently hit the edges. And the laughter of the kids, while they played with their toys away from the grill area. And our own laughter as we all caught up on each other’s lives, and joked, and conversed. And celebrated our fathers. And celebrated just being together.