Mr. Holzel was my father. To me, he was Daddy. Who am I to my son? That’s up to him.
But who am I to me?
And who are you, for that matter? How do you sign the note you put in the lunchbox, or the birthday card? What do you inscribe in that book, a gift that your child might reread 40 years from now?
Dad? Too Ward Cleaver.
Daddy? Possibly infantilizing.
Father? Too Eudora Welty.
Your Father. Manages to sound over-earnest and ironic.
Pop. Too Louis Armstrong.
Pa. Not unless you’re a rancher or a small farmer.
Papa. Sounds like an ironic reference to “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Abba. The Hebrew word. Could be mistaken for the Swedish pop group.
That’s the problem: no choice is quite right. Who knew that the owners manual you don’t receive when you become a parent includes a chapter on writing.