It's his birthday and the loss is upon me.
I can hear him singing car songs in my head. And I hear him calling my girlie Roxy and Sahara, anything but her own name, as he plots for ice cream with her.
I miss my dad and all that we may have said.
September 18, 2009
Yesterday was my dad's birthday. He would have been 81, but he slipped through my hands in a hospital room a couple of years ago. Actually, he slipped through my hands when I was little and he left our backyard for greener pastures. My thoughts of him recently have been wide and wondering. I have thought about his deep rich voice and his love. I've thought about the unanswered questions that didn't go unanswered for lack of asking, but for the lack of clarity, depth and self-knowledge required. I have thought about his laughter and the way I often felt like he was in cahoots with me in some way of thinking or adventure.
A week or so ago, my friend John took us on a ride around the block. John is taking care of his brother's '63 VW Van (in perfect restoration). My eldest dug the backseat with the refrigerator and surfboard. And my youngest giggled with laughter, sitting in the front seat, being bumped as the very long stick shift shifted. The sound of the motor and the feel of the drive brought to mind the winter, turned spring then summer Dad restored my own VW. A '72 bright orange Superbeetle Convertible we'd bought for a song (well, actually, an aria) that went from wreck to vision in those long months. I thought about the anticipation, the updates, the long drive home when it was really mine and the music of the radio as well as the engine. I recalled the drives around the block to see how she was running and the thrill of knowing that this project would be mine.
Last night my daughter showed me the cover of her new journal, entitled "Dear Grampa." Without a word between us, she too has been thinking about him a lot lately. When she showed me the book, she explained that it's not for me to read. It is instead, a special place for her to share the things that grow in a young girls heart with the man who gave her five nicknames in five minutes, took her on her first nighttime swim and snuck candy to her from behind his back while I (kinda) wasn't looking.
So in this day my heart is full of gratitude, in the midst of oceanic loss, for the small things. And I realize with great relief, that small things drenched in the acting of love and held in our hearts, are sometimes the very big things in our lives.