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.