flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread
Because Father’s/Mother’s/whatever day comes with two choices in cards: super sentimental (“You’re the bestest dad in the whole wide world! You were always there for me and did everything right and only wanted the best for me and I’ll love you forever!”) or cliched activities (“I love you as much as you love golf/sportsball/cars.”), leaving no good options for those of us whose parents don’t care about sports, beer, or cars, and also don’t have the kind of uncomplicated relationship those hearts and flowers cards are talking about. Where’s the ‘You were as good a parent as you were capable of being’, or ‘You kind of sucked, but I still love you for some reason’, or ‘Shows improvement’? And no, I couldn’t actually give any of those because hurtful, but I also can’t go with the traditional options. Generally I settle for a blank card with a picture of a cat or other fuzzy animal, and write a basic inscription.
I know I’m not alone here – I have friends with absentee parents, or abusive parents, or alcoholic parents, or problematic parents of varieties I don’t even know about. When you scroll through Facebook on one of those days and see that somebody has nothing to say about it, no picture of the parent posted, that might be why. It makes those holidays feel awfully lonely, and awfully confusing.
And I will inevitably get a message from somebody about how they lost their parents and I should be grateful to have anyone at all while I still do, and thanks, because it’s not like I freak out about my parents’ health ALL THE DAMN TIME or anything. I love both of my parents; I worry about both of them; I’m just not capable of lying about our past together and whitewashing it into an adorable Norman Rockwell painting. So shhhh, self righteous person. I am sorry for your loss, but your life is not my life and you don’t have a say in how I feel.