I always called my father on Father’s Day if we weren’t in the same location. There was no guaranteed time, but he knew it would come. Matter of fact, last year it came TWICE!
I called once the week before, when I called to scream excitedly,
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY, DAD!!!!!!”
and he corrected me through chuckles with, “Honey, today’s not Father’s Day. That’s next week.”
I also called once the day after the actual holiday where I called apologizing excitedly,
I’m so sorry, so sorry! I had it…I was just a week early! And then yesterday I….Happy Father’s day, Dad.”
He told me he knew I’d call, and then he told me “The Father’s Day Story.” I’ve heard the story about twenty times since returning from Afghanistan. One thing’s for certain, I’ve heard it for the last three Father’s Days.
It goes a little something like this:
Man, when you were in Afghanistan, My Little One, I waited for that phone call on Father’s Day. I waited and waited and waited and waited. Your mother told me you were on a mission, and if it got extended you wouldn’t be able to call, but I still waited. I thought, ‘There’s no way My Little One wouldn’t be able to find a way to call!!!’ She ALWAYS CALLS!!! I thought you must have been dead when the phone didn’t ring. I was ready to call the Red Cross. Your mother had to calm me down. I was so worried. Don’t you remember? You were on a mission and you couldn’t call! I’m so glad you’re back. I love you.
I’ve let him tell me that story year after year simply because he lit up so much when telling it. To him, those were the hardest moments, wondering if his Little One would get hurt in senseless combat. By the time he got to tell the story, however, those threats seemed safely in the past, and the times could be reflected upon with a light humor.
I miss hearing my dad’s voice, his laugh, the dorky voices he’d mimic.
Today I would have called him and heard that same story again.
The kind of version that gets more dramatic every time he tells it.
The kind that makes him light up like a candle in the window of a dark room.
Today I would have called him, but I can’t.
Talk about bittersweet moments…
So today there was no phone call. There wasn’t a “When you were in Afghanistan” story time.
There wasn’t anything but a gorgeous day, a cleansing rain, and beautiful moments spent enjoying being alive with the love of my life and my mom.
Aside of tonight’s meditation, I will also leave a Happy Father’s Day message here on the blog. I would have wanted him to enjoy that.
I miss you dad.
Happy Father’s Day.
Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.