As I lay awake in bed this morning, staring at a dark ceiling in my lonely room, I realized that in just a few weeks it will be 10 years since you’ve left us. I can’t believe that it’s already been ten years. I can remember that day in the hospital like it was yesterday, and yet it seems so long since we’ve shared our chicken wings, beer, and laughs.
The last few years have been a whirlwind for me. On many occasion’s have I needed your counsel on events in my life. I’ve had to make some very difficult choices and desperately needed your commentary and opinion. In the end, I am sure I’ve made good choices but you are one of the people that I could talk to about absolutely anything… when I did something stupid you’d laugh at me, but then you would help me. We didn’t share sports like many fathers share with their sons, we shared stories… and I miss them tremendously. I’ve told some of those same types of stories to other people, and they just don’t get it, or they don’t appreciate it fully like you always did.
Chicken wings… that had become, through no deliberate intent, “our thing.” It seems every time I came home to visit we would go have a beer and some wings, buying the hottest ones possible and laughing at each other as we would sweat profusely trying to consume the order… and we would talk. These days, I go to a local restaurant on Sundays to watcch football, and they have chicken wings. Often, Caleb will come with me… but if I a particularly broke and can’t afford wings, he doesn’t come with me. Clearly, what you and I shared isn’t what I share with him.
Caleb is now a senior in High School and will be graduating in just 4 months. He had a son on Halloween last year, and he’s now facing a very tough decision to leave his son in order to best take care of him… I’m not sure he can do it. He seems to be leaning towards trying to stay in this little town we live in so he won’t miss Connor so tremendously, and I’ve tried to speak with him about it, but he’s 17 and just doesn’t want to hear it. He seems to take after his dad in that regard. I remember how it was to be 17 and “know everything,” and I try to keep that in mind as I deal with Caleb. I’m hopeful that I can eventually get through to him. Anyway, you’d love Connor. He’s a beautiful litle boy, always very happy and smiling. His mom is a wonderful young lady too. She continues to do great in school while caring for Connor. She has impressed me greatly.
Zoe is a beautiful 11 year old now. She’s ever “bouncy” and happy. Her red hair has lightened slightly over the years, but it’s still definately red and she’s just growing like a weed. She’s ever the friend to the underdog, taking “special” children under her wing at school to make sure they have at least one good friend. I couldn’t be more proud. Through elementary school she did a good job, but it was an eternal struggle to get her to do her homework; once she started middle school this year that all changed. Last year when she had her tonsils removed she was very interested in what the anesthesiologist did, and he decided that’s what she wants to do with her life. She and I talked about what that would require of her in school, and ever since then she has a new vigor for school. Now she comes home from school, grabs a snack and heads straight into her room to get her homework done, and her grades have improved greatly. I couldn’t be more proud of the young lady she’s becoming.
Well, I just wanted to get you caught up. It seems a lifetime since we’ve talked, and I miss it tremendously. I can’t eat hot wings without thinking of you, and the thoughts are both happy and sad. Someday, maybe my children and I can have something like that… they are a bit young yet as that didn’t happen until after I moved out but I am ever hopeful.
I’ve got big plans for the future, plans which I am sure you’d pick on me for (insert numerous lawyer jokes here) but I have no doubt you’d be proud. This is something I want badly, and I’ve decided that I am no longer going to “settle” for things as I’ve done before. I thought I always lived by the mantra “just good enough, isn’t” but I wasn’t… now I am.
I miss you dad, love you.