I have fretted over this day, Father's Day, in my mind more this year than ever before. I have always been satisfied with seeing you the Saturday before, handing you a card, giving you a hug and maybe a bag of chocolate covered peanuts, and calling Father's Day handled. But this year feels different, and I have racked my brain trying to figure out what to do, something special to buy you, how to be there with you. But then I realized I can't give you what you really want, and I know that you wouldn't want me to leave my kids and husband today to come hang out with you. So on this Father's Day morning, I will give you my words.
I remember us going shopping for Mama around Christmas. I think Trey and Todd went with us, too, when I was really little, before they could drive. I have this memory of being upstairs in Gayfer's just as you got off the escalator in the housewares section. I was looking at the little porcelain birds, and that was always a favorite of hers. I remember buying her that dream tree, the gold tree with all the little gold leaves hanging. I remember in Louisiana a beautiful owl print in a frame we went and bought her. And I remember going with you to pick out her anniversary band. Lots of memories of you and I together finding things to make her smile.
I also remember the way you always left me special gifts for different occasions. When you traveled, you would leave things for me on my bed... Valentine's Day and birthdays, you never forgot me. You always made me feel special in your own way. And I watched as you made my mother feel special. You loved to work out a surprise for her. The Christmas you surprised her with Buffy in a box. The dining room set you bought and had delivered and set up for a big surprise. The Garth Brooks concert you arranged for her even though you didn't like country music. You were always looking for a way to make her happy, and that has stuck with me all these years. Watching you love her the way you did made me love you even more.
So here we are. Me and you. Missing her something terrible. Finding this awkward and painful common ground these days. In the midst of it all, we are finding out how similar we really are. And we are also talking about things I never dreamed we would... you are showing me your insect bites, and I am telling you that my kids are driving me to the brink of insanity. And both of us are all the while asking ourselves what she would tell the other. You and I are leaning on one another in a way we didn't think possible. Even though it won't ever be what we both had with her, it works beautifully, and I know it makes her happy.
So on this day, daddy, I want to say I love you. I am grateful to have you now more than ever. You are my family and my friend. And I know you're probably crying now, because I am, too.
Your baby girl, the one you always called Stinky, even though I hated it so.
It doesn't bother me as much now, though.