hard days

20 Jun

Today, the first Monday after the last day of school, always ends up being a little strange. Mechanically, it’s not all that different. Last nigth, I went to bed before everyone else (which, let’s be honest, I do quite a bit), and I was the first one up (except for the kitten); the house was quiet. The difference, of course, is that the house was going to stay quiet for a while; nobody else had to get up. I ventured out into the world to do my thing, while the rest of them stayed in bed. Traffic to the office was lighter – no schoool buses, no activity at the schools I pass at all; traffic flowed; the whole damned world seemed quieter, even surrounded by all the other commuters. Realistically, I know it’s not all that different, really, but it felt that way.

Sure, I left instructions for some overdue child labor to kick off the summer, but I know full well that nobody was stirring before 9am. I do not envy my wife (other than the fact that she gets to sleep in a bit as well) the task of prying them all out of bed to do my bidding for the long-neglected yard/property clean-up. I hope something gets done; I’m well-braced for the fact that progress isn’t going to be to my liking, though I still hope to be surprised.

I’m in a weird sort of melancholy; part of that has to do with the weird stillness this morning, part has to do with Father’s Day yesterday. I did get breakfast delivered to me in bed, and a nice practical-but-kind-of-cool present, which is appreciated, but I have a really hard time with the holiday, because, although I am a father (even if I don’t always feel like I’m actually good at it), I have a hard time making it about me; I miss my dad. I spent most of the day keeping my head down, avoiding a lot of the whole business, because even twenty-odd years later, it’s still a big hole.

Although I mostly avoided the internet this weekend, I saw a piece my friend Chris wrote about how many of us don’t have fathers around anymore (which at this point, has more to do with the age of my peer group than anything else), and how that hole doesn’t go away. I was blubbering like an idiot for ten minutes after reading that. Like my friend, there’s a lot of stuff going on in my life I would love to share with my dad; stuff he’d think was really cool, or proud of. He never got to meet my kids; he barely got to know my wife. I think he’d really dig the neat creative stuff I get to do these days in a way that a lot of other people in my life wouldn’t. There’s a whole bunch of things -questions, thoughts, ideas- I’d love to get his take on. I was still mostly a kid when I lost him; not having his perspective on being an “adult” is a big hole – sure, I’ve found some surrogates over the years, but it’s not the same.

There was, however, a bit of a bright spot – this year, just like I did seventeen years ago, I shared Father’s Day with my daughter’s birthday. Kind of a neat present. And she’s turning out pretty well (no thanks, I’m sure, to me). I think I can work with that.

I also judiciously and responsibly avoided pointing to this all day yesterday. However, yesterday is now over. Pfft.

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