I don’t remember a lot about my childhood. I have a lot of pictures, and sometimes when I look at them it will spark a memory. Like the first time I caught a fish, or the ducks we used to have in the backyard. But there are bits and pieces that I don’t need pictures for.
Like the smell of automotive oil.
Or the sound of an air gun.
Or the sound of motors starting and stopping, engines stalling, mechanics cussing.
Or the sound of my feet hitting a floor grate over and over again as I would run up and down the garage of my daddy’s work.
I don’t remember a lot of my childhood because I had to grow up pretty quickly. I remember the tetherball thing he made for me when I was little, or playing tennis against the garage door, or the time I backed the truck down the driveway (we laugh now, but I was in SO much trouble).
I also remember the day they told me they were getting divorced.
The crappy apartments.
The day he told me he was getting married to a woman I didn’t like at the time.
I remember everything from about age 7 on. Because that’s the year my whole life changed. And that’s the year I had to grow up.
We’ve been through a lot, the two of us. I’m his little girl, he’s my daddy. I’ve hated him, he’s disliked decisions I have made. I’ve cried on his shoulder, and he’s cried on mine (only twice… the day I moved away and the day I got married). I may not remember my childhood, but I don’t need to. I have many memories that I think about often from the many years that have passed.
He’s never called me a princess, and I thank him for that.
I’ve never cussed at him the way I did my mother because I knew it wouldn’t affect him the same way.
He didn’t want me to drop out of school, I didn’t want him to get remarried.
He swore to me that he would always be there for me, and he ALWAYS is.
Now that I’m adult, I understand why he’s made the decisions he has when it came to me. Why the tough love was so essential to our relationship, why he didn’t make an effort to call when I told him I never wanted to speak to him again, why he tells me he prays for me when he knows how I feel about that. I watch as some of the people I love get older, and I cannot imagine that ever being him. He’s still the same Daddy. He looks the same (although slimmer), with the same awesome beard he’s always had. Yet here we are, another year has gone by…
It’s his birthday today. And as I’m typing this out, I’m bawling because a piece of my heart is home with him today. I miss him, so much.
He’s the smartest man I know. He’s so amazing in many, many ways. He’s always been there for me, even when I thought he wasn’t. He’s there for the kiddo, he’s there for the hubby, he’s there for my step siblings and all their children. He spreads himself too thin a lot of the time just to make sure everything gets done. He’s made an amazing choice in a wife, and is an amazing example of what it means to be a man, a father, and a husband. I am so, SO proud to be his daughter.
Daddy, I love you. More than I could ever, ever write in a blog post or even tell you out loud. I know that we haven’t always seen eye to eye, though as an adult I’d say we agree on a lot of things, but I cannot imagine my life without you in it. I’m so thankful for you, and that Oliver has you as his Papa Don. I wish you the very best today, and hope that although you’re not officially celebrating, that you take some time for yourself today. Because you deserve it. And I promise to call you a little later, after I get all my chores done. Happy birthday, daddy. I love you.