A Broken Father’s Day

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I didn’t call my dad.

Part of me says I should have. He is my dad, and I do love him, after all. I could have called him. But the thing is, if I had called all that would have resulted is a strained conversation with a surface-level exchange. We would both have had to pretend that everything that happened between us several years ago didn’t. It would have been fake.

Yesterday Sierra posted a song that really speaks to my relationship with my dad. Here are some excerpts from the lyrics: 

We’ve become strangers
Walking a strange line
In time, out of step, out of line
It happened in stages
I was changing
I was changing without you

And how did I become the enemy?
Thought this was everything you wanted from me
Have I become what you feared
Should I disappear this time
How did I become the enemy?

‘Cause I was your angel
Talking a good game
The same one you taught me to play
You kept me in cages
With gilded spaces
Too small for me to stay

 

I guess part of me feels like not calling is a kindness to my dad. That it relieves him of having to think about everything that happened between us, everything he wanted me to be that I wasn’t. That it keeps him from having to remember the pain of losing me. Except that I know it doesn’t. Not calling doesn’t mean he doesn’t think of me.

Somehow, where I can’t do a phone conversation I can do a gift. I bought my dad something I know he will love, and I’ll give it to him the next time I visit my parents’ house. A conversation risks bringing up all the heartache and tiptoeing around topics not discussed, but a gift I can do. A gift carefully chosen says “I still love you” even when those words can’t be spoken.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Starfish

    I have the same problem. I didn’t call my dad either, even though I probably should have. My parents are fundamentalist Souther Baptists. I’m queer and 2.5 years ago I married a trans woman. Yeah, there’s not a lot of talking going on between me and my Dad. It makes me very sad, but there doesn’t seem to be any space for me to express that.

  • Melissa

    I didn’t call my dad. It would be easier to understand if it was over my atheism or some other thing he didn’t approve. The truth is we just don’t even know each other, and no one calls people they don’t know.

  • Contrarian

    That left a lump in my throat.


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