When I was born, you started writing in a black book you kept in your armoire. I think it had gold-rimmed pages. When I grew old enough to know you had the book, I wondered what you’d written in it. I was an embarrassed teenager and worried you were writing about my getting my period. I probably threw a fit and demanded you show it to me. Because that’s what I did when I didn’t get my way. Okay, so it’s what I still do today, but Phil’s helping me work on that. Which is nice, having someone who helps me to learn to grow into a better person.
Life is so short, Dad. I stood graveside near you and Carol recently, and I came home that night and wrote the following in my black book, the one I keep in my armoire (like father, like daughter):
Today I stopped worrying about my life. I heard about the life Carol’s father lived, about the life he lead in a quiet witty way, and the people he left behind, people who know how much he cherished and honored them. I stopped worrying if I was doing things right or by the book. Who cares? We have so little time here.
I remember putting a pebble up my nose and having to go to the ER the day we moved into East Williston. It seems like yesterday. I remember Grandma and Grandpa taking me to The Straton for onion bread the day Lea was born. Grandma trying to split my cake slice with me. “Stephanie, you can’t eat all that. We’ll split it, and keep our girlish figures.” I wanted to yank the plate back and to tell her to get her own.
I wish she were alive for this joy. I miss her so much. I’m thankful I can share this with you, with Grandpa, with my family. This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. All my dreams are coming true. The writing, the love, the family. This is everything I’ve hoped for. I just never imagined it would come, really truly arrive, the way it has, by just doing what I love. I am so very blessed.
I hear so many older people say they can remember when I was a child like it was yesterday. Time goes by so fast, and this is mine. It’s up to me how I fill it. I choose to fill it with Phil. He’s my family, too. And now, it’s not just you, Phil, and me. Now there’s more to consider.
You always cursed me with, “I hope you have a kid just like you.” Well you know what? While that might be a big pain in the ass, I couldn’t wish for anything more. A stubborn petulant child with a huge heart and the best dad ever? I’ll take it. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy in my entire life. Because with Phil, I KNOW it’s right because he’s just as big of a pain in the ass as I am… but we love each other. And in all honesty, he’s felt like family long before we discovered we were blessed with this pregnancy. So now, in just one day, you’re learning that you’re gaining a son and will soon gain the title of Grandpa. I love you with all my heart Dad.