It might be time to update the annual Father's Day card. I am not sure that your "dear father" has much love for elaborate floral scapes.
This post is brought to you by American Greetings.
I spent so much of my childhood crying. My tears had no inhibition. They came when they felt like it, pouring down my face in public and private alike. I wept because the girls at school didn't want me to play Little Mermaid with them on the playground. Teared up over the outcome of books I was too young to read (Of Mice and Men at nine years old? What were you thinking, parents?.) Bawled because I thought maybe someone looked at me in a way that really wasn't that nice.
My goodness. It must have been exhausting to be around me.
The tears continued into my teenage years. The causes of my adolescent tears were very similar to my younger ones. Only by that time, it was Alicia's birthday party rather than Little Mermaid, Tolstoy in place of Steinbeck and the girl in 6th period English teasing me about my hair rather than a roll of the eyes. We can thank the gods of teenagedom that while the tears still came, they began to show restraint in place and timing. They always waited to appear until I got home.
My parents were so patient. They listened, they counseled, they hugged. Having been a teenage girl herself, my mom understood. She knew that sometimes when you are fifteen and your jeans don't fit and that one boy doesn't even know your name, it can feel like the world is ending. She validated my hopes and disappointments while assuring me that life was so much bigger than that one moment. I wouldn't say my dad understood, the world of an emotional girl can be a mysterious one. But he did something that was just as important. He made me laugh.
I remember sitting on his office floor my freshman year of high school. I had just decided I wouldn't try out for the cheer leading team, because I couldn't dance or do the splits or bring myself to shout for a football team I didn't really care about. It was one of those truly difficult moments of growing up. One of those instances where you realize the things you love, the things you are, don't fit the ideal. I hadn't yet realized that the ideal wasn't real. It was a figment created by high school movies and insecurity. I remember sobbing out the words, "If I am not going to be a cheerleader then what am I supposed to be?" It was not the deepest question I have ever asked, but it is one of the most earnest. I don't remember what my dad said in return, but I do remember that it made me laugh through my tears.
By the time I got up off that office floor I had begun to learn an important lesson. There is room and need in this world for every type of girl, even the ones that don't want to be cheerleaders. It may be a simple truth, but it is an important one. I don't think I would have heard it if the laughter hadn't cut through the tears.
So this Father's Day, I am going to be giving my dad one of the best things he has given me. A good, old fashioned laugh.
American Greetings has a collection of ecards that will do just the trick. They are perfect for a procrastinator like myself. Just click, send and let the good-natured guffawing begin.
Now go forth. Give laughter, steak and ties. Be merry.
It's (almost) Father's Day!