My mind is melancholy because I know soon enough it will be your day. I am reminded that another year has passed; another year of not knowing you. I am reminded of all the things we missed. The conversations we never had, the dinners, the milestones, and the fact that we never will. I wonder at times if given the choice you would have changed? Would you have traded it all for an hour of time with me? Would you have made a deal with the devil for just one week? If you had known the outcome from the very start would you have continued down the same path? I have been wondering about these things my whole life.
I can say with all honesty growing up was hard. I spent half my life not being able to relate to my friends and peers because of you. Remember that Christmas play I worked so hard at so that you and mom would be proud? I never saw you there. I watched as my friends would embrace their dads and stings of anguish and sadness would fill me up inside. As young as I was I knew in my heart that those feelings would never be mine. I remember all the dads that came to my swim meets cheering the team on and then I looked over to an empty space. I watched the dads of my friends hug their daughters tight as they cried over some “stupid boy.” I watched the look of elation on my peers faces as we graduated and both parents would exclaim “ your father and I are so proud.” Would you have been proud dad? I can say I truly don’t know. You were gone too soon for me to ask. You were gone because of your selfish choices. You missed out on many things dad, but I was the one that missed out the most.
So many unanswered questions. Would the knowledge that you will never be there to wipe my tears change your heart? I wonder would you have let me go to Prom? Would you protectively wait for me to come home safe and sound? Would you stand with pride at my ceremonies? Would you hug me tight at my failures? Would you have chosen to give me away at my wedding? Dad would it break you to know that every second of time you wasted broke my heart? Dad did you know I kept the lion you gave me? One of the few gifts you ever bought me and I gave it a hug every night. But, there were no “tuck ins” from you and no bedtime stories. I was left waiting in my room with Lion-heart (thats his name) and the nightlight on hoping you would come back. But, you and I know the truth of the matter. You were not coming home and consequently I would never be the same.
I can say that dating was tough too. It still is actually. They say the first guy a girl loves is her father. I have spent half my time dating the wrong people and then running away from the rest. I was never shown how a girl should be treated. I was never told “ no matter what you are worthy.” You taught me the opposite in fact. I made up how you should be in my mind so many times I have lost count. You will be smart like Angus “Mac” Macgyver, funny like Magnum PI, and loving like the father from Full House. But, a girl shouldn’t have to “make up” her father. It is a cold comfort to create an imaginary parent so you can stomach the truth of reality.
It has been 21 years without you. I have grown up quite a bit since the girl with the nightlight and stuffed lion. But, there are some things you can never grow out of. Things like wishing just for a moment I had been important to you. Sadly, as it turns out wishing is all you have left me with. So on that same vein I will simply say, “I wish you a Happy Birthday.”