FROM TOP: MATT HRANEK; COURTESY OF MARLO THOMAS (BORDER: ISTOCKPHOTO)
WAS LYING IN BED, CRYING.
Although it was a lovely
spring afternoon, I huddled
under the covers for a good
reason, having just suffered
a head-on collision with a
classic crisis of adolescence.
The week before, my mom and I had
picked out a dress for me to wear to
the school dance. But on this day—the
day of the dance—I’d tried it on again
and realized that the cut of the dress
made it obvious that, at 13, I wasn’t
exactly shapely. And as far as bras
went, I was clearly still in training.
Instead of getting ready for my big
evening, I climbed into bed and faked
not feeling well. When my dad came
home, he was quickly briefed by my
mom and came into my room.
“What kind of sick?” he asked,
standing in the doorway.
“I have a stomachache,” I explained.
“And my head hurts. And I think I’m
coming down with a cold. And my leg
hurts a little bit, too.…”
“Uh-huh,” Dad said, sitting on the
edge of my bed. “What’s really wrong?”
So I unloaded to him about my
calamity—ending with a sad sob.
My father looked at me for a long
time. When I was through, he stood up.
“Get in the car,” he said.
An hour later we returned home,
having exchanged the dress for one
with a sweet row of ruffles down the
front that cleverly camouflaged my
mountainless terrain. It was perfect.
I’ll never forget how I felt—or
the look on Dad’s face—as I spun
around in front of him, modeling the
dress. In one easy move, my father
had banished my worries.
A WHISPER AWAY
The author lost her father, entertainer
Danny Thomas (shown here in 1990),
but not the confidence he gave her.
he couldn’t fall asleep until he heard
all of his boys come home—and he
recognized each one by the sound of
his footsteps. How can you not love a
man who listens that well?
Whenever Father’s Day rolls
around, I get a bit melancholy. It’s
been more than 20 years since my
dad left us, but I still miss him deeply.
So on the third Sunday of every June,
I have this little ritual: I look heavenward and whisper, “Happy Father’s
Day, Daddy.” Why do I do this?
Because I know in my heart that, all
these years later, he’s still listening. ;
Award-winning actor, author, and activist
Marlo Thomas blogs at marlothomas.com
and writes humor at aarp.org/marlo.