It’s Father’s Day, so of course, I think of my dad.
My father and I were never too alike. He was a quiet kid, and I wasn’t. He spoke via his actions. On reflecting on my own father as a father, especially when I became a father, I realized what a great dad he was. Infinitely patient, slow to anger, always ready to be a kid with other kids, and, I thought — and evidently everyone else did — a very, very funny man. Not in the “A man walks into a bar” kind of way, but in the one-liner kind of way. And what a punster! Of course as a kid you think puns are hilarious, and that’s true if they come from your dad or your grandpa.
To this day, and indeed more than ever, I wonder how my dad was such a good father to us when he had known so little parenting himself, having been raised on the Lower East Side by his immigrant grandmother from age nine. From what he told us in those rare times that he’d talk about himself when we were kids, he was pretty much in and out of everyone’s house in those days. Maybe he picked up a little bit of all those dads, or maybe he was just a “natural.”
This Father’s Day is the first one I’ve ever really thought so much about my dad, besides in the “when are we getting together” kind of way, because this Father’s Day, we can’t get together. Not the way used to, anyway. Two weeks ago we buried him in the ground. He died of lung cancer, no, not the smoking kind, just the kind you find out you have too late. He was only 72, which a friend who also recently lost his dad at that age reminded me isn’t really “young” even though everybody says it to you when you’re mourning — 72 is not exactly the “prime of life.” But of course it’s not nearly old enough when it’s someone you love.
Of course we never really contemplated how much we loved him on Father’s Day the way we are this Father’s Day, as much as we did love him, and express it, and as close as we all were. Now of course … well, you know the rest.
Father’s Day isn’t over yet, you know. Is there someone you can call — someone you would miss the way I miss my Dad?