My father was notoriously reticent about any holidays that specifically focused on him. He hated being reminded of his birthday, for example. But he specifically loathed being wished a happy Father’s Day.
At least, so he let on. But I’ll be damned if the bastard didn’t have a secret soft spot.
He used to make a big fuss about hating being wished a happy Father’s Day. To compensate, I’d call him up on Father’s Day and cheerfully tell him to go to Hell. He’d have some similar snappy comeback, we’d have a good chuckle, and we’d move on and talk about other things.
His wife recently shared with me that at the end of those calls, he’d make a big production out of flipping off the phone and shouting, “Well fuck you too, Kevin!” and they’d laugh, and then they’d move on.
Sounds like quite the routine, yeah? That was our thing.
But then, going through his desk drawers after his death, I found a collection of cards over the years. Most were cards that his wife Rebecca gave him on their anniversaries. But some were cards from family members. He actually had some cards from his daughter — my deceased sister Melissa — from many years ago, wishing him a happy Father’s Day.
He also had a recent photo of mine pinned to his home office wall, which nearly made me weep when I first saw it. He had pictures from my Bachelor’s degree graduation at UCF.
Holy shit, my dad had a sentimental side?!
Well, whether he did or not, I will say this: it’s my first Father’s Day without my dad. I wish I could pick up the phone and call him, even if it was for the silly ritual of us both pretending it wasn’t a sentimental day.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.