Even though we were close, and I was most definitely a daddy's girl, my dad and I didn't always have the greatest relationship. We screamed at each other. We said mean things. Sometimes I rolled my eyes so hard at him, that it actually hurt. He embarrassed the hell out of me on multiple occasions, and I'm sure I did the same to him. But as time goes by, those things just don't matter anymore. I find myself thinking about the silly things, like all our "shopping trips" at the dump, our Sunday drives to look for cars for me that he never actually purchased even though he said he would, him forgetting his teeth at home and not realizing it until he was at work, going fishing and always catching more than him, the way he always made us late because he was still in his bathrobe having a smoke when we were supposed to be walking out the door. I remember how he always thanked my mom for the great meal she cooked for supper, even if it was him who did the cooking.
I remember calling him from a hostel in Halifax, the first time I had left home, crying because I was scared and didn't know where to go or what to do and it was Halloween and I was surrounded by strangers who were dressed as The Crow. I remember going to visit him at the campground office and the golf course, and feeling so special cause my dad was in charge. I remember him always loving listening to me practice the piano, unless the Nature of Things was on. If he wasn't working, he'd call me every morning and wake me up, telling me what to do with my life. At the time it drove me crazy, but what I wouldn't do for that phone to ring again. I remember how welcoming he was to my German pen pal, and how he taught her all he could about Saskatchewan. I remember his special chili, and how it burned your asshole out, but was so delicious. I laugh when I think of all the times he would yell at us for changing the channel, even though he was snoring loudly on the couch and obviously not watching anything. According to him, he was just resting his eyes. I remember the Christmas morning when we got our Nintendo, and watching him play Super Mario Bros. with the boys, and being just as excited as they were. I remember the embarrassing argument we had right before I was going to Regina with friends to see a Green Day concert, and me having to tell him that a band singing a silly song about masturbation didn't make them bad people. I remember him telling me not to do drugs, because they would give me the shits.
I will never forget walking into the kitchen late one night when he was sitting there, a few months after his mother had died, and having him look up at me and say "I miss my mom". I watched him cry and tried to console him, but I didn't know how. I will never forget all the wonderful things he always had to say about my mothers parents, and how much he admired them. I will always remember the smile he had on his face the day he told me I had a new baby brother. I remember laying on the couch, with my head on his big fat belly. I always loved how happy he was to have married in to such a musical family.
I will never forget him telling me about a month before he passed away that he wished he could do it all over again, and "do it right this time". That one sentence has changed how I now live my life. I know there are no do-overs, and there is never enough time to start over, you've got to get it as right as you can the first time around.
Most of all, I will never forget sharing our birthdays. I really truly do miss that. I miss the annual phone call, usually after he'd had a couple drinks, re-telling the story of the day of my birth. My birthday was the one day he always said "I love you", no matter what.
There are so many good memories, I really could go on all night. When it comes right down to it, the good, really does out-weigh the screaming and fighting. The embarrassing things, are now mostly pretty funny. I wish we could have had more of these memories. I wish he could have met my husband, they would have gotten along so well. I wish he could meet my dogs, we always joked that the family dog was his favourite kid so I'm sure he would love Patches and Maggie. I wish he could see how much Nick matured, and what a wonderful man he is, and how he's always looking out for us. He would be so proud of Danny for finishing university, and living life to the fullest. He would see that even though he made mistakes, we all turned out alright.
So, happy birthday, Dad. Wish you were here.
|Me and my Pa, January 25th, 1979.|