I’m Sorry Dad: Happy Father’s Day

June 15, 2011 § 10 Comments

Yesterday, I went to Hallmark to purchase our Father’s Day cards. As I tried to find a humorous card for my father-in-law and a touching card for my father, I came to one conclusion: the humorous cards are lame and the touching ones are pitiful.

Dad, the miles may separate us
And we don’t tell you we appreciate
All you do for us

(open)
But today is your day.
Happy Father’s Day.

Father, you go unappreciated
Every day
We may not tell you
How much you mean to us
But on this day

(open)
We want you to know
We love you
Happy Father’s Day.

They may as well say, “Dear Dad, sorry I’m a shit daughter. Here’s a card. Hope it helps.”

I ultimately gave up on my efforts to find a humorous card for my father-in-law and miraculously located the only two non-apologetic Father’s Day cards and headed to the register miffed.

For Mother’s Day, the racks are awash with “you’re a superhero, Mom” and “you’re the best” and “we wouldn’t know love if we didn’t have you” cards. The trouble I have when choosing a Mother’s Day card is narrowing down all the wonderful choices and choosing the one that feels like it’s talking about my mom.

For Father’s Day? Year after year, we’re offered cards jockeying for the most apologetic, the most shamefaced. I realize that not all of us have an ideal relationship with one or both of our parents, but is it appropriate to approach Dad with our tails tucked between our legs and heads low? I figure that if you recognize your relationship with your father is strained (perhaps because of physical distance or not expressing gratitude), then you can deal with that in person. Don’t put it on a freaking card! How passive-aggressive. How empty. How lame.

For instance, my dad and I have always had a strained relationship. We just have. On my end of things, I’m trying to be more patient when he pushes my buttons, and I’m trying to avoid the temptation to push his. I’m trying to contact him more to let him know about my academic progress.

But those efforts and associated feelings of guilt don’t need to be on a freaking card. It’s an empty gesture. “Hey Dad, I obviously owe you an apology, so I’m going to do it on a card. See you next year.”

This Father’s Day, why don’t we focus on the positive things our fathers have done for us rather than the negative? And if you just don’t have a positive element to focus on, then perhaps it would be best not to say anything at all.

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§ 10 Responses to I’m Sorry Dad: Happy Father’s Day

  • jacquelincangro says:

    So funny. I’ve also noticed that too many Father’s Day cards often have beer mugs on the front. Come on.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      I noticed that, too! What do you do if your father has a drinking problem, you know? It just seems so…stereotypical. Can’t we do just a little bit better for our fathers? Maybe we should all mutiny against Hallmark’s Father’s Day cards! 😉

  • V. Dub says:

    Since my parents divorced years ago, it put a heavy strain on my relationship with my father. In fact, my dad and I haven’t spoken to each other since before Michael and I got married. We were inseparable when I was a little girl, being the stereotypical daddy-daughter pair with our inside jokes and funny nicknames. But as I grew and developed a mind of my own, he didn’t know how to handle my independence in thought, opinions, and life goals. And when the world came crashing down with the events leading up to the divorce and everything after, his ugly side emerged and I didn’t know how to handle him. Lots of soul-searching led me to cut off all ties with him and his side of the family, feeling that I couldn’t trust them with my happiness. I admit, I get a little envious of those who still have their fathers in their lives since I have no recent positive memories of my own. Here I stand, pregnant with my first child, and she will never know her grandfather on the Staiger side. I can always go into further details about our situation if you and I ever meet over lunch. But what I need to remind myself is that not everyone has a close relationship with their fathers, even if they are present, and that’s when my envy turns to sympathy. I pray that you and your father find a way to do more than avoid pushing each other’s buttons and that your relationship will grow deeper and stronger with the coming years. A Fathers’ Day card can only say so much. How the two of you choose to take charge of your relationship will be what determines the success of it. Love you!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Truer words have never been spoken, Vik. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m going to send you an e-mail in a minute. 🙂

      I’m sorry that right now, your daughter won’t know her maternal grandfather. I really am deeply sorry for that. But I know that you and Michael are making that decision out of love for her and not in order to hurt your father. As much as it hurts now and is bound to hurt in the future, you’re acting like a mother. Given even just this little peek into your relationship with your dad, I am confident that you are making the right decision for your little girl. I am sending you positive thoughts and prayers.

  • Tori Nelson says:

    I went the tacky card route for my dad and for The Mister. The sappy stuff was just too much!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Haha, if I could have found a good humorous card that I liked, I absolutely would have gotten it. The humorous cards I found were like from little little kids. They had big, bold-colored letters, unfolded like maps, and were just about the lamest jokes you could imagine. I was pretty disappointed in them. The cards I settled on are pretty…boring. But, eh, I figure my dad and father-in-law don’t read the card anyway, lol.

  • Jennifer says:

    So I tried to get a silly card for my dad…picture it in all its glory:

    The front of the card has a simple black and white image of a little girl picking her nose, you can tell she has long blonde hair.

    Without you, Dad – Mom might have turned me into a total lady.
    Happy Father’s Day [and thanks!]
    Hehehe…it makes me chuckle!! 😄

    But I agree cousin, finding cards can be a tough job. I hate how you have to find the one that defines your relationship. I guess that’s why funny cards are good; they are just in the moment.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      That’s an awesome card, cousin! Lol, I’m laughing just imagining it. Man, if I had seen a card like that I very likely would have gotten it. The funny cards I found at our store were very strange and they were all BIG. They unfolded all over the place and had flashy colors and really lame jokes. Boo. Why can’t I just find a card that says, “Hey, Dad: Thanks for knocking up Mom”? 😉

  • Moka B. says:

    Girl, I feel your pain. The cards I saw were so lame that I ended up not getting one. I might try again, but I’ve already chosen a gift for my dad, so I figure I can forego the card this year. *Sigh*

    Do you remember some called “Create-a-Cards”? I remember there was a Create-a-Card machine at our local KB Drugs store years ago. You could choose general themes and decorations for cards, enter your own text, and watch the card be created right in front of your eyes. It was pretty cool. 🙂

  • Ah, the Hallmarking of America–so sad! Thanks for a great post on this important issue!
    Kathy

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