Sunday, June 21, 2015
Just Another Day
To my son Tommy,
To everyone else, it is just another Fathers' Day. Unfortunately, I have been enlightened to know that any day, including Father's day, is not just another day. Every day is a gift to be treasured and experienced to its fullest. Sounds good right? Yet I say that I have been unfortunately enlightened. I say unfortunately because it can be quite worrisome and burdensome to think of each day in the sense of its potential lasts. This could be the last Fathers' Day I spend with my dad.
A week ago, I was calm and this was the farthest thought from my mind. I was living in the moment and not the future, and if you got to live that is the time period to live in. But now the "What do you want to do for Father's day?" question had all this false importance I was projecting on it. My sense of responsibility, coupled with a heaping amount of Catholic guilt and regret, says that I should make this day, and every day to come for that matter, the most memorable... for it may be the last.
Should I be throwing him a party every day? What do you give to a man who has given you everything? What do you give a man who is facing a timetable that's only certainty is its pessimistic outlook? Hallmark doesn't make a card sufficient for times like this, trust me I've looked.
So I went over to your Grandpa Leo's house yesterday. He was laying down in bed. I cleared off your Grandma Roro's spot and layed down next to him, a practice I have recently adopted. It is nice in that room when the t.v. is off and the fan is on and it is all dark. Something peaceful and calming and secure when I lay down next to my daddy. I told him not to get up, because he hasn't yet accustomed himself to me just wanting to lay down next to him and usually he tries to get up right away and ruins the moment and interrupts the rest he needs, thus making me feel worse about the world. As we laid there mostly in silence, I sighed a big sigh as relief and tranquility started to come on to me.
Me: "What do you want for Fathers' Day? The question has been weighing on me."
Your Grandpa Leo: "Sweats."
Me: "What do you mean sweats? Like sweatpants?"
Your Grandpa Leo: "Yeah. Something I can wear out of the house and not embarrass anyone I am with. These pajama pants aren't cutting it and the jeans are just too hard to deal with if bathroom urges strike. Don't move as fast as I used to."
I continued on telling him all the ideas I had go through my head about the gifts I should get him. He laughed a little at each. Even said some would be perfectly nice. But in the end, I am getting your grandpa sweatpants for this Fathers' Day and hopefully a couple more pairs for next Fathers' Day and the one after that. I was back to living in the moment, just me and my daddy, laying next to each other, staring at a ceiling. That lasted until your Grandma Roro decided we were being too lazy or having too much funny and all of a sudden needed some...I don't know what the hell she needed, but it was something that couldn't wait.
Your Grandpa Leo: "Welp, so much for that." then as he looked at me as if it was all my fault this moment was ending, he accusingly added, "You sighed too loudly I think."
Here are the secrets of life that dawned on me. This Fathers' Day could be the last. Last Fathers' Day could have been the last. The Fathers' day before that could have been the last. Every Fathers' Day of my life could have been the last. You can't prepare yourself for the last...you can only live the current. You can't live the current based upon the uncertainty of the next. And all those grandiose dreams, all those efforts to make something the most memorable... well often enough they are for naught. If my father were to pass tomorrow or six years from now, I am not going to tell the story of how right before he did I got him a 55 inch ultra led t.v. for his last Fathers' Day. But I will tell the story of how I used to go in and lay down next to him and have to tell him not to get up so we could both experience together the rare moment of calm that eludes most of fathers. I will tell you how all my father wanted was sweatpants (and a beer but a thimble of near beer will evidently put him under the table and in mortal danger so all he gets are sweatpants) Special moments like this can exist every day, and they are far from grandiose gestures, but they exist in the little short almost insignificant moments of life that mean much more than you ever realize until they actually do become the last. Until then, he will no longer be able to embarrass us with his pants. But embarrassing us with his hats...well that just won't ever stop.
Sincerely with love from your dad,