I was planning on calling my dad all morning, but was so focused on the girls and CG, that I figured I'd wait till later. I spent the entirety of naptime cleaning up from our breakfast and getting ready for the afternoon and then all of a sudden it was 3:30 and so it was that my dad called me on Father's day.
It was snack time for the girls and they were loud but his voice was lighter than it has been in a long time and seemed to float above their noise. He had finally gotten back to the carving studio and, though the radiation has rendered his hands unsafe for the bigger power tools, he dug out his hand tools and was able to carve, just a little. I smiled at the unmistakable joy in his voice. And then my brother beeped in and we both had to go and we said, loudly over the din, LOVE YOU.
Before I hung up, I told him I would call him back later that night and felt so grateful to be able to say that, so nonchalant like that.
I forgot to call him back until it was too late to call.
CG and I went out to dinner, feeling just a tad guilty about arranging a date night on Father's Day, knowing that very soon, all he'll want on this day is MORE time with his kids.
But we sat at a window seat two top in our favorite restaurant in town, holding hands and talking about the summer and his work and all the places we want to travel someday, anything but the fact that he doesn't get to call his dad on Father's Day or any more days ever again.
Then the bartender stepped outside the front door to greet a little boy and a young woman. He dropped down low to scoop the boy up in his arms and the boy yelped and grinned and kissed his daddy on the cheek. We smiled and squeezed each other's hand and were fine, really, until it was time for the boy and his mom to leave. The boy clung to his daddy and cried NO, wanting to stay with him, just a minute more. His mom, eyes full of apologies, pulled him away and down the street as quickly as she could.
CG met the bartender's eyes as he walked back in.
"That's tough, man" my husband said, feeling it in every way.
My husband stepped into our garage yesterday and up to his workbench, which he hadn't touched in months, moving the tools to their rightful places, cataloging the household things he can change and fix and help. Like my dad did when I was little. Like his dad did for his family.
He could not call his father yesterday, but I like to think that, in the garage, he talks to him, if not in words then in hammers and wrenches and saws.