I don’t have a dad, and I still celebrate Father’s Day.
That’s wrong. I do have a dad. But at best, he’s non-existent, at worst, existent.
Day after day, month after month, he comes after me with the threats of “cutting me off” and “never talking to me again.”
I guess you can’t really call it a threat if it’s a welcomed invitation.
Instead of quivering under his threats, I finally said “Ok! See ya never!” and took my $0 checking and savings accounts elsewhere.
Financial independence is absolutely terrifying, but it’s also the most liberating experience. When you choose to do away with the nightmarish barnacle that you were born into, you might become a little nervous, a little restrained, but you also lose a claustrophobic storm cloud that follows your every move.
Having a shitty dad is the equivalent of having that cartoon cloud attached to you like in the Zoloft commercials – inescapable and relentless, until you choose to do something about it.
No, I didn’t choose Zoloft. I chose “Go Fuck Yourself.”
Sunday is Father’s Day – a day I used to acknowledge with an “eh/ugh” sort of attitude, if one such attitude exists, but now I look forward to it because my father-figure (undeserving of the term ‘dad’) isn’t the only dad out there. And not to sound rude, but I’m not talking about the dads who are fathers to “daddy’s little girl” – although, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t often dream of being one of those.
How often I would dream of my dad going to my sports games and cheering me on as I whacked tennis balls, struck field hockey balls and ran down the track.
How often I pictured my acceptance into college going a little better than “Good for you. That’s to be expected.”
And when I got accepted into the dream journalism master’s program, I thought I would get a little more than a “wow. you must be smart, kid. good luck paying for it.”
I wanted a dad who would pick me up, twirl me around and say I was the apple of his eye, his proudest accomplishment (aside from my sister, of course).
I wanted to be the girl whose wallet-sized picture floats around his back pockets like other dads do.
But that’s not what I got. Instead I got someone better.
I got my mom’s dad – my maternal grandfather.
My grandfather is the shit. The man refers to vodka as “Holy Water” for God’s sake. He taught me that you need to stir your on-the-rocks drink no more than and no less than 27 times because the cubes melt JUST enough.
He taught me how to snap my fingers.
He taught me how to dive into a pool.
He taught me that I deserve better than some lowlife who would prefer to knock up a 28-year-old when he’s closing in on 60 than hang out with his twenty-something kids.
He also taught me how to be respectful and be respected.
But more important than his cool factor – which obviously is pretty fucking cool – is his undying love for his family. Even though he’s old – he is a grandpa – he would do anything for his family, including picking me up from the train station in Newark, N.J. in the middle of the night, or giving me the biggest hug of all time when I moved to L.A. or even telling me that he’s “never been prouder” when I got accepted into college and grad school.
So, sure, having an awesome dad who is annoyingly overprotective, who carries you in his back pocket and who jumps for joy at your accomplishments might very well be one of the best parts of life, not having all of that actually IS the best part of my life because if I were “daddy’s little girl,” I wouldn’t be able to be the person I am today –
Grandpa’s little girl.
And I’m know that grandfathers are celebrated by their own daughters, but for all the grandfathers out there who have more than stepped up to the plate for their granddaughters year after year – well we all can’t thank you enough.