Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

Anyone can be a father…

But it takes someone special to be a dad. — Wade Boggs

My father turned 70 last week. I purchased a stand-up weeder for him, as he loves to meander around the yard and meticulously pull anything that doesn’t belong there. Each year, I try outdo the gift that has given him more joy than anything I have ever given him: The rug fringe comb.

As of yet, I have not found that gift. He reluctantly told me that the weeds he pulls are too small for the stand-up weeder (correction: He had my mother tell me), so he’s returning the gift for some shears, or something along those lines. He actually has a special “kneeling pad” for when he’s out working in the yard. The man is a machine.

How I wish I had one iota of the tidiness this man possesses.

I don’t usually talk about my dad. As we’ve gotten older, it’s become a pattern that I go to my mom about stuff, and my brother goes to my father. I wish I knew him better. How does one get to know a parent? He’s a quiet guy. I’m pretty much his polar opposite in all things.

One of my favorite, most potent memories is the smell of his pipe tobacco cabinet. There’s not a lot I can remember, especially when it comes to scents, but that pipe tobacco will never go away. It made me feel safe. My dad makes me feel safe, too. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually said that to him. I know I don’t have to worry about when things go wrong, because he can make it better. Sure, he’ll grumble about it, but he’ll fix it. He’s kind of my hero that way.

Now I’m crying because I miss my dad. He and my mom live over a thousand miles away. We usually wind up whipping smart-assed remarks back and forth when we’re together, but I don’t know him all that well.

It’s weird to write this down. It’s something I don’t think about all that often. But, it’s the truth. I love him. He’s my dad.

Echo Chamber

Dear Diary.