yeah, i still call him daddy. no matter how old i am (cough…29), that’s what he is to me.
it’s his 53rd birthday today. he doesn’t act that old. in fact, he acts like a teenager most of the time, which is why he injures himself in weird ways pretty frequently. i can’t tell you how many times my mama has called me and started the conversation with “so your dad hurt himself today…”
people usually have a specific memory with their father that is seared into their memory. i don’t have one. i just have a lot of little quiet ones.
like when he hugs me goodbye and says, “i love you. i’m proud of you.” in my ear. it brings tears to my eyes pretty much every time because there was a time when we didn’t speak to each other like that.
or like when he didn’t push me into swimming (he’s a high school coach) or say anything when i quit the my team my junior year to take on more AP and choir classes.
or like when he used to make my cousins and me laugh until we were laying on the floor laughing with his animal noises and jokes during the holidays.
or like when he takes me out on rides in his jeep for us to take in the scenery, shoot guns, and talk and catch up. he’s not the most talkative guy. but when we get going, we talk for hours about all sorts of things. he thinks i’m kind of ridiculous sometimes (which to be honest, i can be) but he supports me. he shakes his head and tells me to fix it, but he still supports me.
his birthday always falls close to thanksgiving. and i am always grateful for more time with him. he’s mellowing out in his old(er) age. my teenage years did a number on our relationship (mostly my fault), but we’re on more of a level playing field now. we know we can’t change each other. we know that we absolutely, under no circumstances, can talk about politics. we know that we’re both stubborn as hell. and we also know that we’ll always be there for each other.