Today would have been my Dad’s 83rd birthday. Early this morning, my sister called to tell me that she dreamed of Dad, our aunt, and grandparents. She dreams of them all often. I began to cry while she was telling me the dream, overcome by a wave of missing, not yet awake enough to try and stave off the sob. The suddenness of the moment reminded me of Holly Hunter in that scene in Broadcast News, when she sits on her bed, holds the phone off the hook, and cries…hard, for a minute or two…daily. Hard cry. Done.
A little later, I spoke to my Mom who was heading to yoga (I love this), then to the cemetery to visit Dad’s grave, and finally to a one-year-old cousin’s birthday party, which somehow all seems appropriate.
On my way to work, I phoned my brother, also at work. We made small talk, and I eventually told him that I called because it was Dad’s birthday. I guess I just needed to talk to everyone that I knew loved him as much as I do. I asked my brother if he remembered Dad eating Entenmann’s Hot Cross Buns, a seasonal item only available around Easter…and Dad’s birthday. He remembered, and laughed, and I did too. “Those were AWFUL,” I said. (I love you Entenmann’s, just not your hot cross buns.)
As was standard with any bread product or baked good my father devoured, he generously buttered each piece before eating it, and washed it down with lukewarm coffee.
I can see him in my mind, sitting at the kitchen table, sunlight streaming through the windows, the Sunday paper spread out everywhere, eating those hot cross buns, sipping coffee. Content.
In some ways, it didn’t take much to make him happy. In other ways, I’m sure it was the hardest thing in the world to do.
That’s who we all are, I guess. Simple. Complicated. Content. Wanting. Ever so beautifully flawed and flawless.
Happy birthday, Daddy.