I’m trying to remember the last time I cried. I’m very grateful that I can’t remember, but today that streak is broken. I’m home alone, waiting for my family to get home from the river so we can join the rest of my family for some Father’s day festivities. So I’m going through photo albums and thinking about my dad, and I can’t stop crying. Lord I’m so pregnant.
I’m lucky that my dad is still here with me. I’m so lucky to be able to still be annoyed by him daily. He’s had too many health scares for me to name, and I’m pretty sure he just thinks he’s invincible. I remember when I thought so too. I remember a counselor came and got me out of class in the sixth grade to tell me my dad had a heart attack. She wanted to know if I needed to talk, but I thought she was literally crazy and talking to the wrong person. Nothing’s wrong with my dad, he barely even gets sick. It wasn’t until I saw him in the hospital gown that I realized my dad was human like the rest of us.
I think every guy wants a son at some point. My dad is no exception. Not only did he not have a son, he got two bonus “daughters” in my Aunt Crystal and her best friend April. They lived with us for their high school years. He’s always had a house full. Although I have no doubt he would have been a great dad to a little boy, he was pretty perfect for us girls.
My dad has driven us to dance competitions, he has watched my sister and I cheer since middle school, he’s bought barbies, and dolls, then cell phones and our first cars. He’s paid for prom dresses and wedding gowns. He has always just been there, this sturdy rock for our family. When things were tough and money was tight, Shelbi and I pretty much remained unaware. He takes a lot on his shoulders so we don’t have to.
My dad walked me down the aisle at my wedding, and he sat next to me at the lawyer’s office when that happily ever after turned dark. He’s been to ultrasounds and built my daughter a nursery when it wasn’t his job to do so.
I only just realized that I took all this for granted. By “all this” I mean my family…the fact that I didn’t grow up in a broken home. Sure, I had tons of friends with divorced parents, and to be honest I never gave it much thought at all. Why would I? I couldn’t relate. It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I was having dinner with one of my best friends, and she told me something that really pulled at my heart. She said that she remembers feeling jealous coming to my house when we were younger. Not jealous in a bad way, really. She just said that she never lived in the same house with her dad. She never had her family all together, living under one roof. She said she would come to my house, and my family seemed so normal. I didn’t tell her this, but at that moment I could have burst into tears because my daughter will know that feeling. She will never live with her dad and I under the same roof, or know what it’s like. My heart hurts thinking that I can’t relate to her in that way, I won’t know how that feels for her. I can be here for her, but I don’t know exactly how I’m going to answer her questions when she finally asks them. I won’t know because my family is a unit. We are a hot ass mess sometimes, but we never quit on each other. For that, I’m so so so grateful. So I’ll do my best to explain anything to her, knowing I have the support of a wonderful family.
Thanks dad, for being everything I needed when you didn’t have to. Thank you for choosing us and loving us and keeping us together. Thank you for putting our happiness above your own, countless times. Thanks for sticking around and putting up with us even when we were little assholes. I know Avery will look up to you, and she will see what I see. A great guy, who loves his family and would do anything for us.
Happy Father’s Day.