Sunday, June 21, 2009

happy day

it's early, early, early in the morning and i've slipped out of bed to write you this letter.

everyone else is asleep. well, almost everyone ... the cat in my lap is gently 'bathing' the dog's nose as he rests it on my leg ... providing a gentle reminder that we are capable of looking after each other in a kind and careful way.

(wouldn't it be lovely if the world were a place where everybody got his or her needs met and received plenty of acknowledgment? everything is sweeter when we begin to appreciate each other and mutual admiration prevails. )

in a little while, isabella and grace will awaken and pad into the room that serves as bedroom and living room in the loft - the sound of their bare little feet slapping against the concrete will herald their arrival. they will stand next to the bed, watching me for signs of movement and when there are none, they will touch my face and whisper close, 'it's time.'

together, we will raid the refrigerator and i'll help them make breakfast for the man pretending to sleep in the bed nearby. it will be loud. it will be messy. there will be arguing. someone will cry. gone are the days when i could pour myself a cup of coffee and wake up slowly with the world. and i wouldn't have it any other way.

would any of us?

today is father's day. and i miss you.

i wish you could be here to see the sun shining, taste the pancakes - sweet and hot. (gracie and bella can cook pretty well, already. their dad has taught them how. ) and i wish you could meet them.

they are lovely. in every way. and it's because of their dad that they are becoming these amazing little creatures. he treats them as little adults (which, frankly, they don't always appreciate, but they'll be grateful for later). he recognizes them as individuals, not as an extension or reflection of himself. and he always treats them as people he likes (and reminds them to treat themselves and each other that same way).

and if i'm honest, i know it will be mostly due to his example that they have the tools they need to navigate the world ... they will know how to be reasonable and fair and strong and careful and responsible. he will be the reason they prefer convertibles, make a perfect biscuit and find humor in everything ... why they'll make everything from scratch, why they'll set the table with all the silverware, even if they know they won't use it ... why they'll set the table at all.

he is why they will read more than watch tv, laugh more than cry and pay attention when they drive. he is why they'll never make fun of kids who run funny, why they'll try, even when they don't feel like it, yell at political shows on television and why they will sing 'mack the knife' and 'big yellow taxi' to their own kids at bedtime. thanks to him, they know the joy of cats and blind dogs; they won't fear moving to new places where they don't know anyone and they'll know there isn't anything a hug from dad, james taylor or homemade pasta can't fix.

he and his existence in the world flavor everything for them - just as your absence does for me. i so hope they know how lucky they are. i'm pretty sure they do.

through them, i'm celebrating this day for the first time. from now on, i get to see it through their eyes and it's finally something i look forward to.

don't worry ... father's day only makes me a little sad, the way you might expect ... but it doesn't make me long for things that never were. instead, it reminds me of how grateful i am for mom's efforts and her sacrifice and it reminds me, too, that if you had lived, laurie wouldn't exist and i wouldn't know these girls or this man ... and that, i couldn't bear. i wouldn't trade my situation for anything. not anything.

and it might sound silly or slightly insane ... but i know you're present. not right now. or every day, even. but you are. i can tell. and where some folks thank god for the wonderful things that happen in their lives, i thank you. it's an unusual idea, i know. one not often spoken aloud - if ever. the good, the great - and even the unspeakably awful - things that happen in my life, if i haven't created them myself, then i'm pretty sure they come from you - or others who've left this life and moved beyond. tiny joys, valuable lessons, the jolts, the hairpin turns ... someone reminding me to wake up to the wonder of my life.

and this year, that 'someone' comes in tandem, padding across the concrete floor, touching my face and whispering close, 'it's time.'

isn't it funny how life - and death - work out?

happy father's day, dad, wherever you are. and if you're close today, enjoy the pancakes. i made 'em for you.

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