I can’t use another tie. Even if I could, I don’t want one. 


Go ahead ask me what I want for Father's Day. You won’t want to hear it. You can't buy it in a store and it doesn't come in sizes. Oh God, please don't buy me socks either. A shirt just won’t do. Here's the good news. What I want won’t cost you a cent.


"What?  I won’t have to waste my money on the Old Man? Great! But wait a minute. There must be a catch. This sounds too good to be true. I remember one thing you taught me, “If it sounds too good…it must be." Or something like that.


Okay. Here it is. All I want for Father's Day is your time. No, not another drive-by greeting as you punch the clock upon arrival and conveniently have to leave in an hour.

Give me a day, even a half-day.  Let's have lunch or go fishing. I don’t want to go to the movies. I want to look at you. I want to laugh with you. I want to sit quietly and do nothing for no particularly good reason.


No, I’m not like other fathers. I don’t do sports and a case of beer won't buy me off. I want you. I miss who you are and who we were. I want to get silly and roll down a hill. I want to talk about life and what you want from it.  Ask me anything, I’ll answer truly. Just give me the moment to hold onto once more.


I sit with the photo albums and thumb through decades of parties and magic captured in stillness. I touch your face at ten years old and hear you say, "I love you, daddy!" Say it again for me. I haven’t changed that much.  My heart will still skip a beat.


This picture was taken right after you came home from the hospital when you were sick.  You were burning with such a fever, I can still feel the heat on my lips. You fell asleep on my chest and when the fever broke we both woke up drenched. I still want to kiss you on the forehead and tell you how much I love you.  You're never too old to kiss your dad.


Here’s the ticket for the Ninja Turtles show I took you to and a stub from your first dance. I have circus tickets from yesterdays gone by and two tokens from the arcade. Look here are the pictures from the Faith No More concert in Philadelphia. I was so out of place there, but I went. 


Now I'm out of your life.


Oh, please don’t buy me another card.  Draw one by hand for me. I have files and boxes of pictures you drew, and I still have that handy trash bag you made for my car. I have that first work of art that I secretly bought at the art show that year and the first comic book you created too.


Come sit on the couch and play silly games, and bring over your Nintendo Wii.  I just want a piece of what used to be. I just want some time with you.


I keep telling you guys that life is too short and time is so precious and fleeting.  It seems like just yesterday I sat with my dad. Now it's been nine years since he died. I would give anything for one more meal on the deck with him, one more old story I heard a hundred times, and one more hug.


Yes…one more hug.


Look closely at me. I am getting older. Time will start flying by. They tell me that this is just a phase you’ll go through. But I’m sorry I can’t wait for that "moment too late."  I don’t want it to be a day years from now when you are both standing close by my hospital bed telling me how sorry you were for all the wasted time. I don’t want to hear "Dad, I should have called. We were just so busy.  You know I love you, don't you?"  Then I’ll have to say in some forgiving voice, "Oh that’s okay, guys. I understand. Life is just that way."


I’m telling you now I won’t understand, and I’d be lying to you.  Whatever pain I may be in could not compare to the pain I have in my heart right now.


Please give me your time for Father's Day. I really don't need a tie.

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