How do I cheer my daddy up?
December 13, 2007 12:27 PM   Subscribe

My nearly-60-year-old father has just gone through a breakup. What can I do to help him feel better?

My dad, since my parents' divorce 7 years ago, got remarried and divorced a couple of years later. (If it matters, he was not the one choosing divorce in either of his marriages.) At the beginning of this year, he got back in touch with a high school friend/crush and they began a long-distance relationship (she's in TN, we're in MI). Things appeared to be going really well and just a couple weeks ago he told me he planned to move to TN this spring to be with her.
The decision to move was made after they both went through a hard time being so far apart, and they had "split up" until my dad drove down there, romance-novel-style, and they decided they couldn't live without each other.
I've never met this woman, but I was going to this weekend, she was going to come visit him for a change. Instead she just called him a couple nights ago to tell him "I can't do this." So now she's not coming this weekend, he's not moving, etc. etc.
He's much better this time around than he was a couple weeks ago when she pulled this same stunt. He's by no means a lady-killer and just wants to find a good match. He's just been unlucky in love, and yesterday apologized for passing on the gene to me. :)
My younger sister and I want to do something nice for him, but we have no idea what.
He and I are pretty close and he knows I'm here for him, but I don't know if it would be weird for him to discuss this kind of thing with his own daughter.
Does anyone have any suggestions for nice things my sister and I could do to cheer him up?
My dad lives on his own and my sister is away at school but will be home this weekend. He's a pretty independent guy and likes to tinker around with instruments he picks up for cheap and learns to play, doing stuff on the computer, going for bike rides (although it's getting a little chilly for that now) and working on his house. I'm trying to think of things that will get him out and social so he's not alone a lot.
posted by slyboots421 to Human Relations (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably just seeing him and talking over dinner will do wonders. I know that's not very creative, but really I'm sure just being around people who love him and who he can talk to will be a big help. He's lucky to have you two.

Anything I ever try and take my mom to do is enjoyed secondarily next to her thrill at getting to spend time with me at all.
posted by hermitosis at 12:45 PM on December 13, 2007

just hang with him (this coming from a nearly 60 year old guy).... It's fun to have your kids around when things are a bit tough... watch old movies, look at old pictures... be his kid...

Find some concerts from his era (check out what's at the Ark in Ann Arbor, usually some stuff for us old people there)..... buy tickets and take him with you...

Drag him to the Henry Ford Museum... or Greenfield Village...
posted by HuronBob at 3:08 PM on December 13, 2007

Aw, you are such great offspring! Very sweet. And, being unlucky in love myself, I sympathize with your dad (and you). Hope he bounces back soon.

My first thought was to make one of those photo albums you can order online with jpegs of your dad, you, and your sister all through your lives. These rarely fail to touch even the most masculine-ishly unemotional of hearts. On the title page you could have printed something like "Thanks for being the greatest dad in the world - we love you." (Ahhh - I'm no writer, but the sentiment I stand behind).

One of the things that mitigates the impact of loss is having multiple identities in one's life -- so if a romance goes badly, feeling competent at parenting + career ameliorates the impact of that loss, as an example. So this might make him feel super duper loved by you guys as well as buffering the loss in a different life category.

Good luck to you and your dad. He's lucky.
posted by frumious bandersnatch at 4:08 PM on December 13, 2007

sounds like a good weekend for a big project. cleaning out the attic? building something? cooking something? i think an activity that ends with a sense of accomplishment will help perk him up.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:21 PM on December 13, 2007

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