nobody said it was easy

Things I Really Miss

-Saturday and/or Sunday morning breakfasts, complete with handmade biscuits, bacon, eggs (sometimes fried and left in the oven in the skillet until I woke up, other times scrambled, even if my dad did them kind of strangely), sometimes sausage, and grits.

-The sound of boots he wore like these clunking as he shuffled on the hardwood floors. His trademark outfit of blue denim. His sandals that he made from old boots (only him, I swear). His jeans-turned-into-shorts that frayed at the ends and had patches from holes he’d covered (thank god for that one).

-The dulcet tones of his table saw and band saws whirring from his wood-shop in the sticky summer heat, constant hammering, and the sounds of the air compressor running in the back-backyard.

Beggarticks sticking to my clothes as I kept him company in the back-backyard.

-His cussing and general bad attitude during and after working on a car — yes, I miss even this.

-His snoring…okay, maybe not this one.

-Falling asleep during NASCAR and then springing awake and griping when we change the channel…okay, again, maybe not this one.

-Walking into the ‘big shop’ and hearing Frank Zappa playing on a crappy old tape. And our running joke of “the crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe.”

-Laughing with Mom at his cowlick when he’d wake up from a nap on the couch.

-Him making us late yet griping that we weren’t ready fast enough when HE was the last one getting ready.

-Playing basketball until our hands were covered in dirt and the sun had gone down.

-Riding our bikes on the sandy roads behind, near, around the rustic cabins of Gulf Shores, and pointing out the ‘cacti’ that was our shared fascination.

-His hugs.

-The SS Monte Carlo with the tee-tops and the radio almost always tuned to 99.5.

-His Octagon soap even if it did turn the bottom of the behemoth-tub brown.

-Our goodnight out-loud ‘kiss-kiss.’

-The way he said “all right” — “ah-aht” — and the way he said “oil” — “ahl”

-Past-midnight marathons of Food Network shows, making fun of the Barefoot Contessa and imitating Giada de Laurentis’ ridiculous accent on some of her words (mozzarella, tomato), mocking Guy Fieri’s stupid sunglasses and hair, being amazed by Ace of Cakes, talking about Emeril’s ego and imitating “BAM!”, hating Bobby Flay’s put-on New York-asshole attitude, etc.

-Encouraging/congratulatory text messages, notes, and funny drawings accompanying such notes.

-His appearance at all of my dance recitals, band concerts, football games, anything I participated in, aka his unending support.

Things I’m Sad He’ll Miss

-My college graduation.

-Walking me down the aisle at my wedding.

-Holding my child, spoiling my child, and making my child little trinkets and furniture, ‘cause I know he’d do that sort of stuff.

-Making me more ceiling-high bookshelves (seriously).

-Growing old with my mom.

-Visiting me at work more often and when he’s feeling better.

Complete Sentences and Paragraphs

I see what people mean about the loss getting easier with time. It’s not that it gets easier, but it’s that you can manage day-to-day more easily and you can go weeks without crying instead of just days. Tears cleanse the soul, and all that jazz, but it’s nice to cleanse less often because you can tell your friends funny or quirky things they would do and not get extremely depressed over it. Their memory lives on in stories and pieces of their own personality you picked up and carry with you and show people.

The other day I found my old Motorola Razr, which held some amazing memories, things I’d totally forgotten about. In the sounds, amidst way too many ringtones, was a recording he’d taken as a test on his old phone that I’d transferred over shortly after he died and I discovered it. It was simple, and the first few seconds are blank, but then his voice, deep and Southern but not redneck, comes through the speakers: “I love you.” The ‘you’ is drawn out, the ‘love’ has a higher inflection on it, and it was him.

Hearing it gave me such a strange feeling. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, but an incredible amount of love flooded through me, as incredibly clichéd and cheesy as that sounds. There are still home videos in which he’s very alive, and very personable, and some in which he’s pretty grumpy because he’s renovating our kitchen, but he’s there. And if I can’t have him back in person, this really is the next best thing.

Spend time with your parents (if you have a more-than-awkwardly-civil relationship with them) as often as you can, even if they sometimes (or more than sometimes, if that’s the case with you) drive you crazy.  Someday you’ll wish they were around to drive you crazy.

I miss you, Dad.

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