Father’s Day and I’m single, again. I know my dad is thinking: “why doesn't anybody love this girl as much as we do? She is the best girl.” But, really, I know why and he knows why, because he is the same, damn complicated, and loving someone as complicated as we are isn’t easy. There are few up to the challenge.
I am created in my father’s image: resilient, independent, loyal, generous, overbearing, insistent, hard-working, hard-driving, forgiving, kind. Loving him, or loving me, will test your mettle, push you, unsettle you, force you to do things, be things, that you didn’t think you were or that you didn’t want to do, or that you never thought you could. It could take years, your whole life, to unravel the double-helix of rock hard tough and marshmallow soft that we are. To taste the flavors of salty and sweet and bitter and realize that, like Heinz ketchup, they are in perfect combination.
To love us, really love us, you must have in-human beast strength, the courage to summit the highest, coldest peak, the intelligence to unravel great mysteries, Papal patience, a Wilde wit, you must keep going, and going, and going and never tire. And when you tire, you must still keep going. But, you do not have to do this alone. We will lift you up, lend you a hand, and send down a rope. We will encourage you and rub your feet and make you laugh along the way. We will join you on your journey and get you exactly where you need to be, where you want to be. Your risk will be rewarded with a champagne toast and the greatest, sparkling golden, most fulfilling and inspiring love of all. Everything that you have invested will be returned ten fold.
How do I know? Because for 36 years I have been my father’s daughter. He has pushed me, frustrated me, made me cry, made me scream, embarrassed me. He has worked my fingers to the bone and made me run when all I thought I could do was crawl. He has held my hand through the most lonesome desert trek and saved me from drowning and taught me how to dance. He fed me when I was hungry and when I was not. And when I didn’t want to answer the phone, he just called back later. He kept trying. He believed in me, and forgave me, and celebrated me, despite how difficult it was, I was. I am.
The greatest lesson that I take from my dad is this: it’s far easier not to love someone than to love them. But, it’s absolutely the only thing in the world, in life, that’s really worth doing.