Happy Birthday! I wanted to pick up the phone and call you, the way you always called me. I wanted to sing “Happy Birthday”, just like you always did, you know? Making it kind of campy and funny, with missed notes and fake harmonies. I couldn’t do it, though.
I thought that maybe I’d drop by, just take a few minutes to chat, fill you in on the latest developments in my life. Just shoot the breeze for a bit.
So I drove by, on my way to Mom’s house. I pulled into the drive, and I slowed down. I wanted to get out and come over and just talk to you.
But, Dad, I’m sorry. I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t walk across that wet, snowy grass and look down at that cold stone marker with your name.
Daddy, you aren’t there when I get to that place. I don’t see you. I don’t hear your voice, or feel your hug, or smell your Old Spice smell. I don’t believe that you’d be hanging around in that too quiet spot, with nothing to do. For me, that place is empty.
So I drove away, with tears on my face. I drove to our house, to the place where I know you still linger, taking care of your girl. I parked in your driveway, looked at the trees that were planted when you were a new home owner. I walked around the house, looking into the yard for just a moment.
I rang the bell, and I went inside. I hugged Mom, and had a lovely talk with her. We went out to dinner (Thai food, yum!!) and came back to the house. I had to go home, I couldn’t stay the night the way I usually do, because snow was falling and I wasn’t feeling well at all.
Before I left, though, I went to throw the trash for Mom. Into the garage, where all of your tools still hang. Where each little baby food jar of nuts and screws shows your caring hand. Where the feeling of YOU is as real and as solid as the ground beneath my feet. I touched your hat, and your jeans, hanging in the laundry room. I held you for a moment, and I felt how deeply I still love you and how much I miss you every single day. I sent you my love and my best wishes.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you. I wish so much that I could kiss you one more time, and hear your laugh, and ask you for advice.
Happy Birthday, Dad. I hope that you are happy, and free and well.