I miss my father.
I miss the fact of him, the sense that everything would be OK, just because he was in the world.
Dad left us ten years ago, or at least he left this earthly plane ten years ago. He hasn’t gone very far, though, even after all this time. I see him in the raised eyebrows of my baby grandson when I do something silly. I see him in the skeptical frown of my granddaughter when I try to fool her.
I hear him, right in my ear, as I reach up to his work bench to return a set of pliers that I have borrowed. His voice is so clear that I find myself answering out loud, “Of course I’m going to clean off the dirt before I hang them up!” I hear us laughing together as I do just that.
I miss so many of the little things about Dad. I miss the smell of his skin when I’d kiss his cheek. I miss the Old Spice on his shirts. I miss being called “little girl.”
I miss the way Dad would grin and rub his hands together to signal that it was time for a cocktail or a glass of wine. I miss sitting and sipping good Scotch together.
I miss how my Dad could make a bad day turn fun. I’ll never forget when he and my Mom and sister came to visit us during our graduate school days. Dad had come with a very good bottle of expensive Scotch, and we had promised to take them out for dinner. But it was a summer weekend, and every restaurant in town was booked solid. We ended up in our tiny apartment, crowded around the kitchen table. We dined on salami sandwiches, a bag of chips, and that excellent Scotch. We had so much fun laughing at ourselves, because my Dad set the tone.
I really miss seeing my children with their grandfather. He was the Grampa who played checkers and dominoes for hours. He taught them how to sand wood and hammer in a nail. He was the Grampa who sat on the floor and let the kids use him as a climbing toy.
He listened to the kids when they talked to him. He looked into their eyes. Grampa made them feel special, and so they were. I miss the sound of those high voices calling, “Grampa! Grampa!” as they came in the front door.
He wasn’t perfect, our Dad. He was just a regular, hard working family man who loved his wife, loved his kids, loved the life he lead. He laughed more than he frowned, and even when he was mad, he was never scary.
He was solid. Dependable in all ways. He was a man of black and white views about what was right and what was wrong, and so was not a man of nuances around truth and integrity.
But he was always compassionate, always generous, always true to himself.
I miss him.
I feel him in the room with me, even as I write this piece. But I miss him, so very much.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who love and nurture families.