a year

I like to see people reunited, maybe that’s a silly thing, but what can I say, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.

― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

~

I am 42 years old and yet, I can’t wait.

I am giddy with anticipation.

Never before have we been apart this long. And I hope to God never again. Because it’s felt wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.

It’s been a year.

It’s been the kind of year that no one should live through, ever. The kind that reminds us of what really matters, the hard way. The kind that make us face our darkest fears. The kind when mortality rears her ugly head and laughs at our arrogance, reminding us of how close she really is. Always, always is.

And through it all, we’ve been apart. Because that was what he wanted, he said. What they needed.

A friend suggested I not listen. That I go anyway.

Just show up, he said. He can’t turn you away once you’re there.

That’s not who we are.

He says don’t come; I don’t come.

Because I believe him. I trust him. I love him enough to respect him.

So as hard as it was, he said don’t come; so I didn’t.

A year has passed.

Life has changed.

The storm, thank God, has quieted.

(We are so proud of you, N and we love you so damned much. You did it.)

Yes, the storm has quieted.

He’s coming tomorrow.

And I can’t wait.

I am giddy with anticipation.

Because I have missed him more than I ever imagined I could.

It has scared me — missing him so much, needing him so much. It has forced me to acknowledge that someday, missing him will mean something entirely different. Missing him will mean having to rely on what I know he would have said, rather than what he will say. And I will know. Because he’s taught me well.

But not now. Thank God, not now.

Now, I wait. Giddy with anticipation.

Because my dad is coming tomorrow.

And when he gets here, he will say, “Where are my girls? Gimme my girls!” and he will hug them and say, “Ooh, I’ve missed you SO much!” and he will hug Luau and when he does, he’ll squeeze his shoulders just enough to remind him that he can hurt him and he will cringe and we will laugh and then he will hand out absurdly large or overly abundant or otherwise over-the-top sweets and Katie will beg to open them now, now, now and he will say, “Of course! That’s the point!”

And then he will turn to me. And we will both cry because, well, where do you think I got that from? And he will cup the back of my head and run his hand down my hair and he will pull me in and wrap me inside those tree-trunk arms and he will squeeze so hard that I can’t breathe. And the buttons on his safari shirt will scratch my face and I will laugh, because I know that later Katie will ask why her Papa always wears safari shirts when he’s never been on safari. And I will say, “Because he’s Papa,” and that, as it always is, will be a sufficient answer.

And for a moment, inside that space, I will be small and safe and young and free and not the one who has to know, has to decide, has to have the answers.

And today, more than ever, that space is exactly what I need.

My dad is coming tomorrow.

And I can’t wait.

22 thoughts on “a year

  1. Missing my dad does mean something entirely different now, but he’s with me every single day. Enjoy every moment together 🙂

  2. I have been reading your posts for a year now, I have yet to make any comments but today after reading this I felt the strong need to. Next week my parents are coming to visit because lately I have missing them so much and really just felt that I needed to see them. I can’t fly to them with my son(no way he would sit still for that long) so I decided I would bring them to me. I Just figured it was because I have been going through a hard time that it would be nice to have family around me…but then today I read this… “Inside that space i will be small and safe and young and free and not the one who has to know, has to decide, has to have the answers”
    As tears streamed down my face I realized that it was so much more than needing family around, it was that safe place that I am longing for. I often relate to your posts but this was truly eye opening for me. Thank you so much for being so open. I know you help so many and I truly feel for you and what you go through…so thank you

  3. That moves me in such a familiar way… And the safari shirt sealed it. I wonder if they understand – letting us be their little girl for just a moment, giving us that freedom and break from reality

  4. There you go again, making me sob! I lost my Dad just a month ago. I know you don’t need to hear this but I need to say it…Cherish your moments with him. Soak them up! Inhale them! He will make everything better just by being. This post explains a lot about what you have been going through. Hang in there! You are not alone!! xoxoxo

  5. My parents are visiting us right now! I savor my time with them so much more as they are aging, more quickly than I’d like (dad is 81, mom is 77.) They’ve said that they can’t travel as much because it’s getting hard. I love them so much.

  6. Enjoy every second!! There is nothing in the world like a hug from your Daddy, no matter how old you are it just seems to make everything better!!

  7. Now I’m sobbing too! I ache for that small, safe space. I lost my dad very suddenly 11/2 years ago, and it was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life – even harder than losing triplets and then having a daughter with autism. I’m so, so happy you get to see him. Make every moment count!

  8. Neither can I wait, because you give me as much or rather, much more than I can give to you. You have done much to define who I am as a man, a husband, and most of all, as a father. You are the very very best and most perfect thing I have done in my life…
    So I too, can’t wait.
    Dad

  9. That one struck a chord…hit a nerve…rocked the boat. Hope he’s well. I’ve wondered where he went. Seemed he stopped commenting all of a sudden. Always loved his comments. His love for you is so big. My relationship with my father is different. But I miss him in a similar way. He was once my only favorite safe place. Then life happened. Have a great weekend!

  10. tears… hugs… my dad just called literally as I started reading this and I’m right around the corner from him. it’s been that kind of week… going to hug him now. thank you. enjoy your visit!! xo

  11. So beautiful! Cherish every moment, it makes my heart ache that my children never got to know any grandparents and that our parents didn’t have the chance to know the joy Ann’s beauty they bring to our lives
    .

  12. I am never, ever out of words! But today, reading this, I almost am. I’m having my own case of missing my dad and–it’s complicated. So happy for you and yours!

    Karin

  13. I was so glad I was alone when I read this. Having just lost my dad in December, I sobbed uncontrollably as I read. Never let another year go by. We always think we’ll have tomorrow but that isn’t always the case. Love him a whole lot while you have him there. Happy Easter!

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