Sunday, June 15, 2008
11: Father's Day
It's no secret: I'm a daddy's girl. When we were little and had to take two cars, there were two of us and two parents: I would go with my father and my sister would go with my mother. We always wanted to balance things out.
A year ago, when I worked thirty some miles away, I would call him on the drive back, natter on forever about whatever it was in my life that bubbled up to the surface (generally frustration about teaching, and more often than anything else, frustration at co-directing the school's musical). And he listened, which was such a gift. He still does.
When I was little, he used to play guitar for us, sing songs. He would come to my elementary school to sing to our class, even made some up about dinosaurs, or whatever it was that we studied at the moment. He was in a musical called Pumpboys and Dinettes (his line that will skip through my head: "My name is Jackson and I pump with good speed and I'll get you everything you need"--not the epitome of creativity, but he was a professor turned gas station attendant and I adored running up and down the aisles in the empty theatre during rehearsals)--this musical eventually won a few competitions, regional, state-wide, national, and soon he found himself performing in Aruba. I remember how it rained the morning he left to get on the bus with the rest of the cast and crew; I remember staring into the wall pocket in the car, wishing we could come along. I remember realizing, then, too, how important it was for him to have that time away for a few days, but I know he carried his girls with him in his heart.
At my wedding, he wrote a song for my husband and myself, wishing us a good marriage.
When I was really young and unabashedly fond of him, I would pronounce that I would marry him when I grew up. It's what all little girls who have good relationships with their fathers might want: to marry a man that makes them feel as happy in their hearts as their fathers do.
And that's just what I did. My own husband is kind, is good, is generous, and makes me feel confident about myself, gives me the gift of love and adoration that I had growing up from my father.
I am lucky to have such men in my life and to come from such men: this is the father whose mother I just wrote about a few days ago, the man whose father was equally patient and kind. There is a kind of radiated calm around them; sometimes, when I am feeling especially tumultuous, I curl up in the essence of that calm, I imagine myself three or four years old again, my hair in braided pigtails, sitting in that orange fuzz of my father's guitar case, listening to his soothing singing, hoping nothing more complicated than, "I hope you have a good time."
I love you, Dad. Happy father's day, and thank you.