I wanted to write some sort of deeply moving post about my dad for Father's Day, but everything I drafted felt cheesy and forced. So instead, I'll just tell a story.
When my ex and I finally decided to separate, it was an emotional roller coaster for everyone involved. He signed a lease on a Saturday, and I immediately called home to talk to my mom, who'd been a constant source of support through everything. The only problem: I'd forgotten that my mom was out of town with her friends for the weekend. I remembered instantly when my dad answered the phone (something he only does if 1) my mom isn't home, and 2) he isn't too busy watching an auto race on TV).
I was a little scared to tell my dad that the separation had officially arrived. I had assumed my mom told him that my ex and I were talking about separating, but I had never actually talked to my dad about the possibility, or any of the problems in my marriage, for that matter. My dad is a pretty black-and-white thinker, and I was worried that he'd tell me that I had to stick things out at all costs, that I'd said "I do" and there was no going back on that.
I started to cry as I told him that my ex was moving out, bracing myself for his response. I waited and listened, and then found myself surprised. His voice softened as he sympathized with me, calling me "sweetie" and letting me know that whatever my decision, he and my mom would support me in it. I was relieved. I don't think he realized what a gift he had given me just then: the freedom to make the decision that was best for me and know that my parents would be there, no matter what.
In retrospect, I should have expected him to react this way. He's always supported me in my major life decisions. My fear was irrational, based more on my own judgments of myself than anything else.
Nevertheless, on this Father's Day, I want to stop and say "thank you." Thanks, Dad, for surprising me and reminding me why Robin and I really are two of the luckiest daughters around.