FATHER’S Day. A nightmare of a day, a day when you look in the mirror and discover a cold stare of disappointment looking right back at you. I don’t want this day to exist. I want it to be over.

There may be a Father’s Day card on the doormat, but I don’t pull the envelope open with a sense of pleased anticipation. In fact, it feels more like getting my Higher results. That single, lonely, small, ‘X’ after your daughter’s name, you assume, is really shorthand for, “Sorry, but you have underachieved as a father. This card owes more to prescribed social convention than the conveyance of heartfelt emotion.”

And I don’t expect more. I know I don’t have the sort of connection Atticus Finch had with Scout. I know we’ve never had a David and Harper Beckham kissy-kissy life together.

But take this thought; this Father’s Day feeling of failure isn’t about self-pity. It’s about engendering shared experience, the disappointment felt by so many men – which has prompted the Families Need Fathers website to promote a Portuguese television advert.

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In the ad, a child speaks in class “with joy and knowledge” of his day to day life with the parent he lives with. “But when it comes to talking about the parent whom he sees only every 15 days, words are harder and his knowledge is less. You notice discomfort in the room and you get the feeling of lives that are not lived entirely as they should.”

And that’s a familiar scenario across the country where thousands of dads would love to able to reach out for the guitar next time their daughter visits and play the Paul Simon Father-Daughter song with that great chorus: “I’m gonna watch you shine. I’m gonna watch you grow.’

But you can’t because you didn’t. Not too often anyway. Instead you end up playing out a scene from the Neil Simon play, I Ought to Be In Pictures, whereby father and daughter central characters have lived almost separate lives.

Now, the Hallmark card on the floor, or the Moonpig on the laptop, does little but heighten the sense of Imposter Syndrome.

The words I’m reading in my head are: how can you expect to have a huge closeness when you haven’t earned it?

Yes, I can tell myself I made the 200-mile trip every chance I could, even though after her mother married, relations became so cold they made Lorraine and Esther seem like the Beverley Sisters.

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I can remind myself of the many 6am set-offs, the trips to Blackpool, to Alton Towers, to the movies, eating KFC in the back row, the fun swims, the theatre trips.

I can tell myself it must have meant something because we were both in tears at the end of the day’s goodbyes. But none of that matters because what I also realise is I’ve helped history repeat itself.

I’ve become part of the next generation of Scots men who thought we’d learned from the disappointments of our own fathers and could compile the manual How To Build A Dad. Easy. Don’t be a drunk, invest time in the child, read them stories, play football with them, (the daughter went on to play football for her university), never leave them alone outside a pub, tied up like a horse. Don’t gas their budgie in a fit of temper. And remember, physical contact can be pleasant when it doesn’t feature a whack on the bum.

We all wanted to be different from our own fathers. Just because the Paw Broon generation did little more than puff on a pipe of self-containment, leaving bairns to their own devices, that would never stop us teaching them to ski, or play tennis or swim or how to whistle using a blade of grass between our thumbs.

With all of this in mind, you think you’ll manage. When you hold that little girl for the first time, and she sucks on your pinkie, you realise, or hope you will be connected this closely for ever.

You hope you will get to carry her to bed when she’s fallen into a deeper sleep than a Sleeping

Beauty who’s swallowed three of her mother’s zolpidem. You hope you’ll be able to collect her from school.

You simply assume you’ll have lots of chances to brush the tugs out of her hair in the morning, tease her into wearing warm, sensible clothes, (at least until the age of 18).

And you hope as she gets older she’ll hoover up your Atticus-like advice. And you fully expect to see your daughter being collected by her date and feel, as comedian Jim Bishop did, “it was like handing a Stradivarius to a gorilla.”

But relationships don’t always work out. And disconnection results. It means big hugs are rare.

There’s a Christmas time and a birthday period formality. I hope, that like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz she’ll come searching for a relationship with her father. But it doesn’t always happen.

And I hope that some day Father’s Day will bridge rather than reveal the divide. And that it doesn’t take as long as it took for Jane and Henry Fonda to have their On Golden Pond moment. Or King Lear and Cordelia.

When the father is bonkers mad and on his death bed it’s perhaps leaving it a little late.