Featured photo: Me with my dad and my sister in Japan back in October 2023.

I talk to my mom a lot.

We play tennis together no less than three days a week and my sister, my mom and I have a group chat where we send funny videos and news articles for discussion.

But I don’t talk to my dad as much.

Growing up, my dad was like a lot of other dads. He worked long hours while my mom stayed home and raised me and my sister. So naturally, we grew close to my mom and had an easier time talking with her. It didn’t mean that we loved our dad any less, of course. The relationship was just different.

This week, I talked to three different dads about their personal relationships with their fathers and how that affects the way they’ve raised their kids. The takeaway from all three conversations was that they all wanted to be a part of their kids’ lives.

But it’s a two-way street. I know that my dad isn’t really one to text first or call. His love language, like my mom’s, is acts of service. He might not talk to you for hours, but he’d show up and power-wash my driveway if I asked. When we moved into our house six years ago, he was here helping to paint our walls, install our ceiling fans.

So I know now, that as an adult, I need to make the effort to open up the conversation. He did his part by working all those years, missing events because he was either at the restaurant or tired from work. It’s up to me and my sister to do the reaching out now.

Because I think they want that. Whether the conversation is just three short texts or a 10-minute phone call, fathers want to connect with their kids. Years of lack of practice and societal norms may have made it more difficult but the yearning is there. Otherwise, why would they have come fathers?

So this Father’s Day, I encourage you to reach out to your dads and ask them about what’s going on. Talk to your dad friends and see how they’re doing. Because dads want to talk and connect, we just have to make the space.

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