Sunday, September 10, 2006

On your birthday

You were never much for elaborate gifts or big dinners to celebrate. You resented putting the worth of it all in a tightly wrapped gift or a watch. Each Christmas, Father's Day, and birthday, it was always the same request. "I want a nice card, with some nice words, I want you kids at home, and I want us all to sit while Bryan plays the piano."

As I got older I concocted new ways of impressing you. One year, I phoned all over Tulsa trying to find a Mariachi band. Unfortunately, no one would perform on my waitressing salary. Instead we had wine and cake at mine, and I would hand over a carefully written letter of what having you around meant to me.

When I left, I promised myself I would write to you and mom, I wouldn't be the daughter who forgot her parents on the other side of the world. I wrote every week so we would experience it all together. And we did, I found 67 letters of mine stuffed in a large vase when I came home to visit last Summer.

Oh dad, I remember when I returned to Thailand and I spoke to all my Peace Corps friends, so many of them lost their fathers too, and their eyes became wet when they understood I was part of that club as well. Amanda told me I would never stop missing you, that the emptiness never goes away. She's right, I miss you a lot, I miss you being mad at me, I miss you advising me, I miss you being proud of me, I miss you bugging me to give you a grandson, I miss having that security of a father. I miss knowing mom was safe because you were taking care of her and I miss her taking care of you.

It's been a year and a half. The last dream I had of you, you were sitting in some homestead with acres and acres of flat land. I was driving by and you walked out waving as you were getting into your truck. I cried to you and asked why this craziness happened. How did I go to bed one night in my home in Thailand and wake up in Israel? You smiled and said "it will be all right" as if all my heartache was normal and it's just life and to be dealt with-you then drove off.

Sometimes I wonder if I feel you more now that your gone than when you were alive. Maybe it's because I took you for granted. Before ,I never knew what it was like to be without you in my life... But now, I see you in every accordion I hear, every bird that perches itself, singing on a nearby limb, in every old man sitting on a bench smiling at the sunshine. I feel you in every stupid financial decision I make, or when I am planning my future. Bryan is so much like you, I lean on him these days- he's what you would have been like had you not experienced ww2. You did something very right in the way you raised him (us).

I couldn't do anything spectacular for you on your birthday today. I am a little torn, because I miss you and because I don't know the best way to remember you. My life has changed forever not having you around. The older I get, the more I want to go back to being that little girl on the shoulders of your 6'2 frame. I want to be the kid that followed at your heels on my little red bicycle as we went to the bakery. I would have wished you around a little longer, to walk me down an aisle if I ever am to get married- I wanted to make it professionally enough to take you on a voyage- where we would play father daughter catch-up. All I do now is play catch up with every memory I have of you.

Above all, I thank you- I could not have done ANY of this without you. I am proud to be my father's daughter. I'll keep all these thoughts scribbled in little notes in my heart, and I'll remember that many are not as fortunate to be their father's daughters and leave it at that.


At 9/11/2006 3:18 PM, Blogger alias pail said...

well put. i watched some videos yesterday thinking i should have a balls out cry session. all i could do was laugh and smile. what a funny guy, ol' freddy boy. played a show with antony and hektor on sunday, and we dedicated the set to him. love ya.


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