Some of you readers might consider this node to be a bit self serving. If that’s the case, well, so be it. There are just some times that it feels good to get a pat on the back every now and then. Especially when you stop to consider who’s doing the patting.
This be one of those times…
A little ways back I wrote a short piece about how easy it was, and, for that matter, still is, to have your heart broken. This is especially true when someone that you’d lay down your life for does something so out of character that you wonder where it’s all coming from.
See, I turned forty nine today and the weather here in my hometown is unseasonably cold. Snow flurries in April, while not uncommon are still pretty much a novelty and my daughter's mom asked if I could pick her up and if she could spend the night and most of the next day with me. I said, “Sure” but didn’t quite know what to expect. Due largely in part to that episode I mentioned earler, relations between the two of us had been a bit strained over the past week or so. Our conversations seemed stilted and rehearsed and there always seemed to be some last words dangling at the tip of our tongues that both of us refused to say. When we looked at each other we both seemed to keep our guards up like two strangers who meet for the first time or boxers sparring of against each other inside the ring. The snow that fell in fits and spurts throughout the day resembled specks of Styrofoam and sort of exploded against my car windshield as I was going to pick up my kid from her bassoon lesson..
It all felt so unnatural.
When we got home there were the usual questions about school, soccer, music lesson but both the questions and answers had a feeling of deadpan to them. We were just going through the motions.
A little while after dinner, she dug into her back pack and produced a hand made card, laminated at the local Kinko’s and strung together with purple ribbons and adorned with drawings of hearts, kittens, musical instrument and anything else that might come to the imagination of a twelve year old girl.
I’m what’s known in the parent industry as a “soft touch” and I could feel that tingling coming up my spine and the goose bumps beginning to form on my arms. Soon, needless to say, my eyes would be misted over and soon after that, a waterfall of tears, those of the good kind, would be streaming down my face. On the front page read the following words :
50 Reasons Why I Love My Dad
No matter who’s looking, if there’s a good song playing, your heart is dancing.
No matter what question I ask, you always find a way to answer it.
You don’t get angry if I want to watch the same movie like Little Miss Sunshine over and over again.
On weekends, I wake up to the smell of blueberry muffins
Your corny jokes
If you see something wrong, you try and change it and make it right.
You are always good at starting conversations, even when I’m angry.
You are a good listener whether it’s a stupid joke I made up or the latest drama in school.
You never ruin the moment.
Even when we’re short on time, you always make sure we get there five minutes early.
You have the right things to say when people are in distress.
You never stay out past 8:00 PM.
You always keep your promises.
If someone else is wrong, you tell them so politely.
You never force your opinion on other people.
You are the best chef in Clintonville but you don’t brag about it.
When I want to be alone, you never get mad at me.
You can embellish a story without making it a lie.
You never jump to conclusions, but step back and what is the best thing to do.
Even when I’m wrong, you are always understanding.
I love how you write stories about everyday things that happen in our lives and turn them into a thriller.
You always push me to expand my vocabulary, even if it means using the words “There’s a huge dictionary sitting right there.”
You know when you’re over your head and when you are, you don’t get angry.
At the end of the night, I can always dance in the living room to Jimmy Buffet if I want to.
You always let Jude (our cat), come up and curl up on your lap even if you just not in the mood.
You tell great stories about growing up in Brooklyn.
When I feel horrible, you know the right things to say to make me feel good about myself.
You are all about “Quality not Quantity”.
You take the extra minute for presentation.
No matter the argument, we always leave the night on a good note.
You are great around my friends and tolerate it when I’m not so great around yours.
You never mind if I babble but always listen and usually reply to it.
You can tease without being rude.
You always take the time to look through old photo albums with me, even if we just looked at them the other day.
No matter how cheesy a movie is, it always touches your soft spot.
You never just cry, you only get a “little teary eyed”.
You never said “I hate you” to me, even when I say it to you.
You know that through the whole argument, we still love each other.
You are at every soccer game.
You’re never late for anything.
You never discipline me in front of my friends
When it snows, you always let me take time to climb the huge mountains piled up at the Giant Eagle.
You always make it a point to tell the truth.
If I propose even the stupidest idea, you always say “Maybe.”
You can admit when you’re wrong.
No matter how horribly I might paint a picture or play a song, you’re always proud of me.
When we have “game nights” and make up our own rules, you never just let me win.
You might not know my favorite stuff but you know me better than anyone else does.
Even when I say only “Good” to your questions, you always answer mine in great detail.
You remember what it’s like to be a kid.
When I die, no matter where I wind up, I want to take a copy of this with me.
It’s funny how easily a bad memory can be purged and replaced by a good one if you just let yourself do it.
A few more snow flurries wouldn’t hurt either.