Sunday, June 19, 2011

dear dad

Dear Dad,

Happy Father's Day! It's the third time we haven't been able to call and wish you a happy Father's Day. This holiday will forever be bittersweet - bitter because you aren't here to be celebrated by your children and grandchildren, sweet in remembering you and my girls celebrating their father.

Yesterday, I was listening to This American Life on NPR and they were airing their Father's Day Edition. Listening to these people recount ways that their father's awkwardly displayed their love brought back memories. Not that you were ever awkward about saying "I Love You," but the things they did... Mostly the woman who's father wrote her driving instructions for a drive she did from somewhere in Indiana to Chicago every year, as if she had never driven before. This same man put together a "In Case of Terrorist Attack" kit for her when she went away to college that consisted of things that you could only buy from stores specializing in this sort of protection.

I started to remember all the times you would detail your possessions so I would know what they were and what they were worth when you die. Or why you kept them, or the special story behind them. The time you brought me a hand saw and a used industrial toilet plunger to my little San Francisco studio apartment just in case I needed it. Or the countless times you went through the process of shifting a manual transmission car, despite me having driven one for years.

And while I laughed at the hand saw and industrial plunger gift, and probably tuned out the stories of your things and our families past far too often, and shook my head in frustration over the driving instructions, I know they all came from a good place. A place of love.

While I can never know what it's like to be a father, I do know what it's like to be a parent. And I can see that I will do these sorts of things to Hadley and Hayden, albeit slightly less eccentric (only you could be that way). They will probably laugh at me, shake their heads in frustration and who knows what else, but I hope they know that this, too, comes from a place of love.

Dad, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of you. Wish I could pick up the phone and talk to you. Or hold your hand one more time. I wish you could know your granddaughters (and you have another grandchild on the way courtesy of Sean) and know me as a parent. I will forever love you and miss you.

Happy Father's Day!


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