Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Seventeen. Dropping out of high school. He needs to spend his days at a good, well-paying job instead. I am on the way.

Changing my diapers instead of changing his major. Chasing me across the playground instead of chasing his dreams. Never complaining about either.

Holding his finger while we walk through Home Depot because his hand is too big for me to wrap my own small hand around.

Gap between his two front teeth… Devastated when my big teeth come in and I don’t have his gap.

Dad on the roof, ambushing the neighbor kids in our street-wide Super Soaker fight.

Two braids. Camouflage. Asking him who his favorite Brady Bunch character is. Wondering why he’s smiling when he tells my mom we didn’t see a single animal today.

So excited, so proud, when he comes in to talk to my class about bridge building. That’s my dad.

Transferring my new Avril Lavigne CD to my computer for me. Every song except the one called Naked.

Wrapping his arms around me when my friend dies and I’m facing my first real experience with grief. “I know it hurts but I promise it won’t forever.”

Begging the paramedic not to call my dad, not to tell him I rolled my car. My legs shaking when I hear him walking down the emergency room corridor. His hand taking mine. “I don’t care about the car. I just care that you’re okay.”

Looking wary as he pops my CD into his CD player. “You’ll like it,” I assure him. Yanking it out after a few songs. “I’m sorry. I can’t. I tried. This music sucks.”

Stepping out the door of my tiny apartment, seeing him drive down a nearby street. Driving all the way across town to check on me before driving the other way for work. Denying it to this day.

Grandpa. My tiny, week-old son in my dad’s arms. Teaching my children to call him Grandfather in an English accent, laughing his contagious laugh when they do. Reading fairy tales over the phone, happily giving the characters voices.

I’ve known him since he was a kid, really.

This year I’m going to get to know him.


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