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Home: The Toast

Megan and Jessica last brought you Alternative Mother’s Day Cards.

vegetarian_cyclist

My Dad, the vegetarian cyclist who looks good in coral

It’s okay that broiling mammals isn’t your specialty, the grill not your domain

That you wave your hand in front of your nose at the roar of a diesel engine

That your fastball is a travesty

That your favorite shirt is the color of a glow-in-the-dark lawn flamingo

 

You say if I follow your lead, I’ll be saved from acid farts and heart disease 

From the planet suffocating on our toxic excesses 

From jock mentality and bro itch

From not seeing the world in blacks and whites, or passé pinks and blues

 

But the choice is mine, you tell me

I am self-responsible (when you’re not helicoptering me) 

And you, Dad, are one in a million

Or one in four in Brooklandia

***

not_a_punchline

What is a father (who doesn’t think his wife and kids are a punchline)?

First one to start throwing random cupboard items into a pan when family members look hungry

A seeker of that very particular toy the baby desperately needs to shut up

The guy who calls a sitter, so he and his partner can still get sloppy-dancy drunk on a Friday night

Healer of bad days by providing a warm-chest that’s easy to snuggle into

Errand-runner of dish soap, pet meds, birth control, his own dress slacks

Responder to cries both melodramatic and legitimate, cries of his name, cries of “you gotta be kidding me” from the eyes, cries that simply require silence and a little humoring

***

father_to_an_adult

For Dad, who makes a better parent to an adult-age child than a small child

You may have missed out on bedtime stories

And “how was your day?” dinner chat

But when I broke up with my first live-in boyfriend

You asked me no questions, helped me move out stat

 

Sure, you only attended a few of my races

And always seemed to be running 45 minutes late

But at 21, you took me to a sweet back-alley blues club

And bought all the drinks, unlike my regular dates

 

And, yeah, you yelled when the chores were done half-ass

And got upset when the living room looked harried

But now you’re the perfect company for quiet walks

Having mastered the uh-huh nod of a man twice-married

 

But even back then I understood you worked hard for us

Showing love through your well-earned wage

These days it’s just easier to accept each other

Both of us chillin’ in our older age 

 ***

sorta_semtamentalist

For Dad, the (sorta) sentimentalist

They say dads aren’t big on reading or words or even the formality of cards themselves. But you, dear Dad, I know will appreciate all the gratitude I’m about to pour onto this 5×7 double-sided cardstock because you can be a big softie when you want to be. For example, you’ve always been a great hugger, and when I’ve felt bummed or lost, I knew I could run to you and feel safe. Unless you were in a bad mood, then I knew to stay away. But even in those times when I stayed away, it prepared me to take the temperature of my future boss or my partner when I’d want something from them as well, showing me that no two adults can be manipulated treated the same. You also showed me what dependability is, and whenever I needed you to fix Bear’s broken arm with whatever adhesive was in the tape drawer, or to take me to the mall to meet my friends so we could look at boys that we would never talk to, you were there for me, if you were home and not sleeping. But even right before you’d fall asleep, I’d sometimes knock on your door and you’d let me into your room and we’d watch HBO stand-up specials, and you wouldn’t even bother to care about all the cuss words I was learning, and we’d laugh together, along with the audience, even though I got maybe, like, only five of the jokes. Regardless, it was a nice few minutes of bonding that made me feel adult-like, made even better by the fact that your room was the only one with air conditioning. But above all else, through our HBO sessions, I learned the value of TV, that after a long day of work, it was okay to lie down, turn it on and not think. Television: Both a tool of togetherness and decompression. Thank you, Dad, for this, as TV has pulled me through the sloughs of adulthood. Anyway, this is all to say that I think you’re tops. Plus, I figure the more words I write here, the less you’ll notice I had no idea what to get you for Father’s Day. Love you lots! Xoxoxoxo

***

daddys_girl

From a legitimate daddy’s girl:

My therapist says you should be the one paying my therapy bill, but I guess that’s also the problem.

 ***

Megan Piontkowski is an artist and illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She does a variety of editorial illustration as well as fabric sculpture, installation, quilted and embroidered pieces. Jessica Machado writes about the kind of grown-up she is here.

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