I tried and tried yesterday to think of a fitting post to do for what would have been my dad's 51st birthday. I did one last year, and was thinking of him all day. But nothing. Well, not nothing, exactly. Fits and starts. I wrote a bit here and there about how he lives on through me in unexpected ways, how he chose "favorite" baseball players whose cards my brother and sister and I would "collect" (starting in infancy; my "favorite" was Keith Hernandez). I scribbled down a list of random quotes I remembered from him:
On religion: "I'm Catholic, but that doesn't mean I agree with everything the Pope or the priest does. It's like being an American. If you agree with everything the President does and don't even question it, you're a pretty lousy American."
On buying ten cartons of ice cream: "Well, it WAS on sale."
On an argument with my mom: "Well, sometimes we do argue. We love each other, and we'll be fine by tonight ... but I am right."
On my mom deliberately ruining his eggs (because he deserved it): "That's fine. I LIKE them this way."
On my mom and I arguing: "Well, I think you're both being a little ridiculous!"
On our response: "..." [Retreat.]
On my mom revealing, after months, that she'd switched the brand name for a generic: "Well, yeah. I figured that out right away. I just didn't say anything."
On political affiliations: "Well, you're Republican. We're Republican. Obviously."
After a huge fight once: "You should know something. You and you mom. You're my heroes. You've changed me more than you'll ever know."
But I couldn't wrap it up, tie it to anything. Because I am my dad for better or worse, including my short attention span, propensity to procrastinate and my devotion to my kid. So I tried in two- and three-minute spurts, and nothing. How do you commemorate someone you're already constantly commemorating in your life and thoughts? I talked to my mom twice yesterday and it occurred to me I had forgotten to say anything. But what do I say? Happy Dad's birthday? Probably, I guess. But that seemed inadequate, somehow, which was the same problem that I had with everything I tried to write. So sorry, Mom. Definitely, Happy Dad's birthday.
My son and I went through old pictures last night, and we found some old pictures of my dad and me. (I'll scan them in and add them to this post later today.) My son, without really looking at them at first, saw the kid and the postures and immediately assumed it was me and him.
And then we went for a walk, and saw this amazing pink and red sky.
David knew what day it was. The world knew.
I guess I'll end with a conversation David and I had last night. It was prompted by a book (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), which seems more than fitting.
"Harry must be sad his mom is dead."
"Yeah. I'm sure he's very sad."
"Like, when he wonders what to do, and wants to ask her, and she's not there."
"That would be really hard. He just has to do his best. And he has the memory of her."
"But why does the memory make him happy? Doesn't it make him sad that she's gone?"
"Well, of course he's sad. But I guess Harry's happy because the memory is kind of like him, I mean her, still being there. And when Harry needs advice or love, Harry can still think about what he would have said."
"I'm not talking about his dad. We already talked about that."
"I mean she. What she would have said."
"You miss your dad, huh?"
"Yeah. I do, sweetie."