MISS MOOX + room

Father's Day

What does disappointment mean to you? The crushing of hope? A dream gone dead, squashed into the ground, perhaps by the unfeeling heel of another person? The crash of expectations smashing into hard reality?

I remember one of my most disappointing moments. Father’s day, when I was about ten. We had planned and plotted and saved up to buy him what we thought would be a smashing present: a weedwhacker. My mother, my two younger brothers, my sisters (even though they were too young to really comprehend it), and I had schemed, together with my grandmother, who had helped us financially as it was beyond our slender means. The weedwhacker had been successfully purchased and smuggled into the house. We decided, as it was too big to really wrap in its long rectangular box, that we would command my dad to stay upstairs, lay it on the diningroom table, and, when everything was ready, call him down to triumphantly present it.

I still remember the feeling of expectation, of hope hanging on edge, as his quick footsteps descended the stairs. The anticipated joy of presentation, of his laughter, of his loving appreciation, of his hugged and kissed thank-yous, of his delight in it, of his use of the gift.

No matter how terrible the relationship with my father was, no matter how things normally were, nobody expected what happened. There was still the childish, and adult, pleasure of giving something to someone whose approval means an awful lot to you, even though you never get it, and whose love would be the world to you, even though you don’t get that either. This was what kept small smiles hovering on our faces as we waited.

But we didn’t expect what happened. He opened the door to the diningroom, looked at our hard-bought present, and immediately said, “What’s this? A weedwhacker? I don’t need a weedwhacker. We’re taking it back.”

And over my poor mother’s weak attempts at protest, his firm insistence, and his retreat back upstairs without even thanking us, I quietly crept away into my room, sat on my bed, and cried.

I don’t know what my siblings did. But I imagine they did much the same. What would you have done?

I still remember that crushing feeling of disappointment. It was so unanticipated, and it came on top of the pleasure of planning and getting a gift that we felt would be so appreciated. I can still call it up, though the sting is mainly gone. But none of us has ever forgotten that Father’s Day gift.

I'm not looking for any sympathetic comments. It's just a memory I wanted to write about.

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