Father’s Day

The longer I’m a parent the more empathy I have for my own parents and the more I think my mother is actually part super-hero. She has always been a wonderful mother, in every season.

Our home was very typical for the burbs – lots of great toys, privilege, opportunity, and family drama. I swam in an in-ground pool every day of summer, drove a very cool Jeep when I turned 16, and asked my parents for $10 every other day, which they dutifully handed over. I played a lot. But we had lots of alcoholism and feuds and depression and anxiety.

Dad and I both missed a lot of great years together for various reasons. Some because he wasn’t available for relationship – busy dealing with his own junk, and some because I wasn’t available for relationship – busy running from his junk and then later, my own junk. And so – here we are, living 15 minutes from each other, both significantly healthier, and I think both of us feel like, “Now what??”

We obviously love each other. I think we respect each other. But neither of us knows how to do “daughter” or “father.” And so – Father’s Day.

How do you pick out a card for someone who hasn’t been “father” in the typical way? You either go with “funny” or “blank.” How do we celebrate what we have, when it’s not really cause for celebration has much as relief? Phew, we made it…we are both still a part of the family!

I wish someone would give me a play book for this thing because I don’t know who is supposed to make the next move. On the one hand, I’ve been waiting my whole life to feel pursued and known by him – his move. On the other hand, I’m 35, have a loving heavenly Father who has met that need, and a wonderful husband who is a terrific father and loves me deeply and unconditionally – my move.

I guess all I can pray for is that the stale mate will end somehow, and God would be glorified in whatever movement forward we make…

…and that my kids can feel free to choose whatever Father’s Day card Hallmark can dream up and send it without hesitation.


7 thoughts on “Father’s Day

  1. Jess, thanks for your vulnerable post here. I don’t have a lot of brilliant suggestions for you, other than picking up Donald Miller’s new book, Father Fiction. It was originally published as To Own a Dragon (here’s a review I wrote on it four years ago: http://www.commongroundsonline.org/content/craig-dunham-reviews-own-dragon-donald-miller). Don just re-released and added to it this year (he was also on NPR talking about it this past Friday and you might want to listen to the interview: http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2010-06-17/donald-miller-father-fiction). I’ve had friends in similar situations as you describe who have read it and it was helpful.

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks for your post Jess and your honesty. I often wonder what my relationship with my father would be like now that I am older. You have such a beautiful heart! 🙂

  3. Jeanna (Beaner) says:

    My father & I go with humor. I’d love to try a serious sentiment one of these days, but it seems so awkward. UGH!

  4. CyborgBooBooBear says:

    Wow Jess. Thank you soooo much for posting this. I can totally relate like crazy. All my dad got was a very short email after 11 PM. I felt kind of guilty…but, what can you do? Keep relying on our heavenly father is pretty much all I’ve come up with…and continued prayer. Thanks for your openness, it is much appreciated…. with a desire to emulate. 🙂

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