I sit in our family home, my brothers and husband and mom and kids all around me and the joy that brings. But there is a dull ache of a dad missing this father’s day – mine.
We lost our dad almost two years ago, a week before my wedding. I am still mostly raw from his loss and rarely talk about him – its simply too painful. Safe to say – I miss him.
But I will share one thing with you all. A piece I wrote for first year English back in my university days. My mom found the two scraps of paper of the work I had printed for him. It is worn with love and clearly read many times – that makes me strangely happy.
Happy father’s day, dad. You are sorely missed.
I’m not shaking, because daddy says I am a brave girl. But I don’t feel so brave when God sends his big flashes at the flowers. I crawl out of bed and take my Koala with me. I don’t have to walk all the way to daddy’s room, because he is standing outside my door. He asks me if I am scared, and I say no because I think I must be brave for the flowers. He laughs at me and I don’t know why. I ask him if we can go and see if the lightning has made the flowers burn. He takes my hand and we go to our patio. We call it a patio, but Greg says it’s a porch. He is from Canada but he doesn’t stay here anymore. I think I don’t know where Canada is.
I will be five fingers next week.
My daddy takes the chair to the edge of our patio, so that the rain is like my curtains, but not so close that we get wet. He says I can sit on his lap and I wonder if daddy is scared. The big loud noise comes and I push my head into daddy’s shirt and close my eyes tight. He says that it’s ok to be scared, but that I don’t have to be. Daddy says that the flowers like big storms. They drink up all the water when the rain stops and then they grow. I think of mommy and how she says that if I eat my breakfast and my vegetables I will grow too. I like water better than vegetables.
The flash comes again, except this time daddy shows me the picture it paints the in sky. There are always stories when there is lightning. There is one about Cinderella who gets to live in a castle and marry a prince with a horse. Mommy told me that one from a book, I think daddy must have told her and then she wrote it down in a book for me. I made a picture at school about Cinderella in the sky, but my teacher says that she never lived there. The big thunder comes again and I try keeping my eyes open. Daddy smiles and talks about a big drum in the sky that the angels play on. He says they like to tell everyone that God is watching and that we must be good.
After a little while I am asking daddy about the pictures that the lightning makes. I want to know if they stay in the clouds forever, but he says stories are for sharing and that as long as people give other people stories they can live in the world too. That’s like my friend Amy from school. She has two homes too.
I think that the pictures and stories are made with crayons, like the ones that mommy and I play with when I come home from school. We make pictures too, mommy and me. Sometimes she does the outline for me and then we colour in.
Daddy has gone to make coffee. I am not allowed coffee, but he will make me chocolate milk. The lightning is still writing storybooks on the clouds, but I am too busy trying to find the prince to notice the angels on the drums.
When daddy comes back he takes another chair. He is drinking his coffee and I try and copy him, I pretend to have coffee too. I know when I am big like my brother I will get coffee in the mornings. Daddy and I talk about more stories. We see Winnie-the-Pooh. This story I know is daddy’s, he put this picture in the sky, because it is my favourite story.
The rain is not falling so hard anymore and daddy is almost finished his coffee. I take a long time with my milk so that we can stay here together for longer. My eyes are falling down like the rain, but I know that I am not tired. Daddy picks me up and I lie on his shoulder. He says that we will have one more story before I sleep, but it must be told in my room.
He puts me to bed and tells me about Sleeping Beauty. I don’t remember the end of the story, but I will ask him in the morning. Koala is sleeping under my arm and daddy pulls the blanket right up to my nose. He kisses the top of my head and whispers. Good night, Sleeping Beauty. The flashes have stopped and the flowers are safe. I am safe too, because my daddy knows all the stories in the world.
I have not been afraid of these storms for years, but still on nights with heavy lightning and thunder, my father and I escape to our patio and watch the wonder that it is. We discuss the days and I laugh at the same silly jokes that he has told over and over for years. I realise that even as a small child, I loved that time with my father. An evening under the power of nature and the comfort of home.