A few days ago, April 22nd to be exact would have been my dad’s 92 birthday. I don’t think of that a lot. Nor do I think of his death on March 30th of 1986. But I do think of him often.
Frankly, I miss my dad. I don’t miss playing catch, or going fishing with him because we never did those things – at least that I remember. But I do miss having a beer and playing some pool. He loved pool! He loved beer for that matter! We always had good laughs over the pool table. He would tell the same jokes and stories that he had told a hundred times before, but I would always laugh and know that some day those would be memories to cherish.
It’s unfortunate that my mom and dad divorced when I was little. I know what he says were the reasons and I know what my mom says were the reasons — none of which really makes a difference now.
Unfortunately, like many kids of divorced parents, my sister and I spent very little time with our dad. We would do the obligatory week-long summer visits and an occasional holiday visit, but other than that, we didn’t see him much or hear from him much. Oddly enough there were times when he would make the long drive from Seattle, come by our house and stay a spell. Then he’d say, “I’m gonna go up and get a motel room” and next thing we knew he was on his way back to Seattle. He did that a lot. After a while we just expected it. I often wondered why he did that and I believe I may have an answer.
I think my dad felt awkward around us. He wasn’t sure how to make a short re-entry into our lives nor was he sure how to make a graceful exit. I don’t think he knew what to say and may have found the challenge of getting up to speed on our lives more daunting than he had imagined. So the quick in and out was the best he could muster. Although, at the time, those quick departures hurt, I don’t fault him. I believe it was just the way he tried to cope with not being there, not calling and not writing. The hard confession is that I find myself in a similar situation with my own kids and grandkids.
Yes, I miss you dad. I think of you often and wish we could talk. I miss playing pool with you and sharing a cold one. I really don’t care what you couldn’t do when it came to being in my life. I just care that you’re my dad and I love you.