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  • I struggle with buying greeting cards. I stand in the aisle for what seems like an eternity trying to find the right card. The longer I look, the less likely it seems that I will find what I am looking for. I start to panic. I pick up cards that I previously dismissed as too sappy, too silly, too childish, too impersonal, too...well, too, hoping my first impression was wrong.

    Of all the card buying holidays Father's Day is the most difficult.

    The cause of my angst is not my Dad. I have a Super Awesome Dad, just like the cards aimed at the teenage market profess. No, the problem lies in the inferred relationship patterns between Fathers and daughters. I find greeting options are limited to the following themes:

    Thank you Dad for all the money you have had to spend on me over the years. These cards are usually humorous in intent and rely on the common perception that daughters use their fathers like walking bank machines.

    Thank you Dad for "being there", in which Dad is portrayed as the mighty rock upon which weak, silly daughters may lean.

    I love you dad because you are swell. These cards are short and sweet. They allow a daughter to do her duty and get ol' Dad a card without embarrassing him with a lot of sentimentality.

    The Sailboat. A rambling, vague poem, which is never really read by anyone, accompanied by an image of a sailboat (or a man fishing).

    I have chosen to avoid the greeting card aisle this Father's Day.

    Mother's Day is easier. It has always been so obvious to me how much I am like my mother. We have won mother-daughter look-alike contests. We share the same creative interests. We have traded clothing, attended the same artist retreats, and shared war stories of the female condition. A mother passes on her knowledge of being a woman to her daughter. Our femaleness is the foundation of our relationship.

    There is no such thing as a father-daughter look-alike contest.

    This year I have been thinking a lot about my father's role in my character development. I sense the society I live in is still a little unsure about the role fathers play in their daughters' lives, which is unfair to great Dads everywhere. In an effort to dispel the myths around dads and daughters suggested by the greeting card isle, I would like to share the best things about me that I have inherited from my Dad.

    I can hook up any computer, audio video, or sound and stage equipment without apprehension. Dad was a big stereo guy and I was always taught how to use the equipment and how to set it up. Most dads would have forbidden their children to touch the stuff I was allowed to play with whenever I wanted to.

    I own my own tools. Dad has always made sure that I had the basics and the skills needed to use them. He would take the time to explain how to do something when he was performing those do-it-yourself tasks around the house. Thanks to his efforts, I know more about my house and how everything in it works than my husband.

    I am willing to be a leader. I learned how to take initiative by watching my father. He is currently the Mayor of our village and President of the local golf club. Dad has never hesitated to step up and lead the way. (I should mention that when you live in a community of 143 people, being a leader means putting up street signs and mowing grass yourself.)

    I am an active member of my community. Dad has been a member of village council, the Lions club, the local Parks and Recreation board, the golf club executive, as well as various other committees and groups. Dad has volunteered his time for over 35 years. Our community is a better place because he is a part of it. I will never be able to do as much as he has, but I believe firmly in participating in my community's development.

    Like father, like daughter. I am proud to be my Father's daughter.

    I guess my problem with greeting cards is they are generic and I do not have the ordinary, run-of-the-mill Dad to which they would apply.

    I’m guessing you don’t either.

    Happy Father's Day!
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