Today is my father's 59th birthday. I honestly cannot believe that. My parents will perpetually be 35 year old angst-ridden rock stars in my mind's eye.
Those of you who have been around here for a while will know that both of my parents are alive and well-ish, but that I speak to neither of them. I haven't said word one to my father in just over 2 years. Well, except for that email I sent a few weeks ago, apologizing for my lack of communication, which he chose to ignore. Bygones.
I don't miss them terribly; I mean, I have totally replaced them with two amazing people that I really
wish were really
my parents, and whom I think wish the same. All is well in parentville over here. But really; sometimes a girl wants her daddy.
My kids ask about my dad all the time, and every stinking question is like a knife through my heart. I refuse to say anything nasty about their grandfather to them, so I just change the subject. It is a sad, sad situation.
But today is not about that. Today is the Friday before Christmas, and the day a 4 pound baby came into the world in Media, Pennsylvania many years ago. That baby grew up to be an amazing guitarist, arguably the best I've ever heard. He grew to be a father to an excessive amount of children, husband to 2 women, and friend to many. Here's what I remember of him:
I remember band practice when I was a little girl. I remember sneaking downstairs long after I was sent to bed, sneaking up to the couch, burying myself in between pot-smoking, beer drinking band members and falling back to sleep in a flood of guitars, tambourines and immaculate harmonies. It is my single most happiest childhood memory.
I remember sitting on the stoop one day, eating ice cream from the ice cream truck, melting in the heat, and getting sprayed with the garden hose by my dad. It was one of the few days he actually stopped to play with us, and I couldn't have been older than 3 or 4, but I will never forget it.
I remember the look on his face through his rear view mirror as he drove away, car packed, belongings shipped, on his way to Colorado. No matter how sad I felt, that look in his eye told me he was breaking a little, leaving me behind. No words could have conveyed that more clearly.
I remember turning off all the lights and sitting on the living room floor listening to Meddle
on vinyl. I remember how he sat beside me, and we were both silent and motionless, and I remember drowning in the music and the Old Spice in the air and the absolute still perfection.
I remember how every year on my birthday, he would call to sing to me, even though it was totally FORBIDDEN in my religion and it made my mother go crazy. I remember how some years he'd get really sneaky and send me a birthday present. Those were my favorite years.
My dad wasn't the world's best dad, and I don't think he ever will be. He's just not wired that way. But sometimes, when he forgot about his obligations and his pursuits and his life, he was able to find a way to make me feel like the very center of the universe, in small, quiet sorts of ways. I was his little girl, and he was my daddy. There is no relationship in the world like that one. And I miss him.