My dad’s been gone for a long while, but I still honor him on Father’s Day, because he was just a really good guy and I loved him for it. If your dad is still around, I urge you to spend this day with him. No parent-child relationship is perfect, but having a father who is there for you has made your life much easier and more loving than it would have been without him.
Along with keeping his white cowboy hat clean, my dad also worked as a journalist for the Chicago Tribune, so I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. What an amazing gift he gave me. Fortunately, I had the opportunity and the presence of mind to tell him how invaluable his life lessons were to me. He was also great at telling jokes, and we laughed a lot together.
Sometime during adolescence, I got into a yelling match with my sister. Something had gone missing from my room, and I was sure she was the culprit. My sister said, “I didn’t take it,” and I responded, “Well if you didn’t take it, who did?” She kept denying it, and I kept accusing her, and our voices got louder and louder, and this went on for what seemed like several minutes. Finally, my dad in his deepest god-like voice popped off with “I took it!!” And I started laughing, and so did the rest of the family.
I use that lesson still. If I can diffuse an uncomfortable situation by saying or doing something funny, it works almost every time. Even when his time was coming to an end, my dad never lost his sense of humor.
It has been said that we are alive as long as the last person who remembers us, and I won’t let his energy fade from my consciousness. Truth be told, I still talk to him upon occasion, and even though it’s in my mind, I can feel his warmth when I think of him.
Not everyone has this kind of relationship with their father. I realize that our relationship was special. Sometimes you have to look for the connection.
If your dad is around, you can also take turns making each other feel special. This Sunday, it’s your dad’s turn, and you can make the next holiday all about you. When you can find a balance with the man who taught you how to ride a bike or drive a car, your life will be just a little bit sweeter.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”