Fathers aren’t perfect; neither are their children. But they try. And sometimes, years later, they end up in a place they never thought they’d be. Moment Editor-in-Chief Nadine Epstein shares a story about when her relationship with her father deepened:
My Mom always used to tell me that my Dad loved me, but I wasn’t sure. For starters, he was always critical of me, never gave me compliments, and seemed uninterested in me except for my math acquisition skills. (He is a retired physicist and at 93, is still pursuing his mathematical interests.) Discipline was his first response. My adolescent years were the worst: Looking back, he was no expert on teenaged girls and I was no expert on middle-aged fathers. Things got a little better over the years but we were never close.
Then two years ago, my Mom died. Soon after that, the most astounding thing happened. My Dad and I became the best of friends, talking on the phone nearly every day (sometimes several times a day), learning about each other’s interests, helping each other and even singing to each other. I see him differently now—he is kind and funny, and I take pleasure in his unique way of thinking about the world. And I know he loves me. He even says it once in a while, and when I call him he answers the phone by singing me the first line of a Yiddish folk ditty called Yuh Mein Tiere Tochter (Yes, My Darling Daughter). On many days I find myself jotting down our conversations in a journal I have been keeping about the transformation of our relationship.
At times, my father still reverts to thinking about me as a rebellious kid, as if I am frozen in time in his mind at age 13. (Apparently I was for many decades!) Just the other day I overheard him telling someone, once again, what a problem I was to raise. Of course I too occasionally regress. But as I always tell my Dad: We are blessed. I turned out to be a good daughter and you turned out to be a great Dad*! And Mom would be so proud!
* My siblings may have always known this!
This Father’s Day, we want to thank you, dear readers, for sending in dozens of your best, funniest, most touching photographs of your beloved dads and families. Take a moment to enjoy the selection in our slideshow, and don’t forget to sing to your dad this Father’s Day! (Or at least give him a phone call.)
Happy Father’s Day!