This marks year 2 of not celebrating this holiday. And it's weird. Last year I avoided it like a wasp's nest, not talking to people about it, avoiding websites that might talk about it, changing the channel when an ad came on. It came and went, and avoiding it didn't make anything any better.
This year I started in the same pattern. I hit the mute for those sales commercials. I instantly deleted the B&N and Amazon emails offering the most amazing deals on gifts for dad. And I didn't talk about it. I didn't say anything on Facebook at anybody. Nothing.
Then on Sunday, there were two posts on blogs I follow offering up the most beautiful odes to their respective fathers. Teary? Yes, I was. You can read them both here and here.
So, having gotten through the day itself relatively well, I want to say a few things about my dad.
My dad was one of the friendliest men you could have ever met. There wasn't a person out there who knew him and didn't like him. It simply wasn't possible. And he had the biggest heart, and loved my mother more than anything.
He was a great dad when I was a kid. Despite the fact that we lived in southern Maryland and he worked in DC, leaving at 4:30 am and not getting home until 8 some nights, he always made time for me. When I panicked and cried because I didn't understand the science of candle light, he helped me after his long day and even longer commute. I can't remember what the assignment was about at all. I just remember sitting in the dining room with the lights off, a candle burning on the table, and holding up papers for whatever reason.
On summer weekends, we would take the boat out on the river, cruising around, lounging, what have you. My first life jacket that he bought me called me his Little Fishy. The first time he took me crabbing, he helped me net one on the end of the line. I always loved going out on the river (who wouldn't?). And I never complained about putting the gear away or cleaning up the sides or tugging extra hard on the canvas cover with my ten-year-old hands. It was time with my dad.
As I got older and we moved again, he was around more. He tried his best to help me through junior high. He always came to my plays in high school. Less than a week after I got my license, I scraped up the side of a woman's brand new car. He convinced the woman not to file with the insurance company and paid for the door (yes, I worked that off). A while later I was washing my car--Daisy, the 1967 Dodge Dart--and was thoroughly confused to find a bandaid on the front left corner of the bumper. I mentioned it to my dad and he said, "Oh, I was wondering when you'd notice that. Did you notice the number 1 on it? That was your car's boo-boo number 1." Under the bandaid, there wasn't even a scratch.
By the time I got to college, my dad was just my friend. I'd come home on weekends, and we'd just hang out in the backyard, drinking a beer and enjoying the sun. It was the best we could do since we'd moved to a landlocked state and sold the boat years before. But it wasn't the location that mattered, or the water, or the sun, or even the beer. It didn't even have to be about the conversation. He was the king of the comforting silence.
Yes, I was daddy's little girl, spoiled and coddled, but also raised to make my own decisions at every turn. And I wouldn't have it any other way. He used to say that I was 7 going on 34. Well, I haven't quite hit 34 yet. I'd hate to think of what I'm going on now.
I love you, Dad, and I miss you.