Hey Dad, we just got off the phone a little while ago. You called me on your way home from work and we talked for about thirty minutes.
We're 3,000 miles away, can you believe it? Well, 2,847 miles to be exact. Truthfully I've been feeling a little lonely out here without you and Mom. I guess I never really thought I would ever grow up. When I was young I spent so much time wishing to be out of our hometown that the wait felt agonizing. I felt like I was never going to get out.
But here I am. Living my life as a digital nomad, out in a city I've never been to before.
I was just thinking about how much you've changed since I was a kid. I remember you throwing me water-logged baseballs in the backyard on those fall days in Maryland. I remember you chasing me around the yard in that weird made up game we loved to play that involved the football and doing laps around our house. I forget how the game worked now that I think about it. That's a little sad.
I truthfully don't remember a lot of things. I remember how our house looked on the inside, but I couldn't point out any details to you. My memory is just too faded--like I'm looking through a foggy car window in the morning.
I remember how we used to set up the toy soldiers and have battles with them. I swear that was my favorite thing to do for years, even with Pokemon being all the rage.
Those memories are faded. It hurts because I know the memories I'm making with you now will be faded one day too. I'll reach back for them but I won't be able to pull them out as clear as they are in this moment on the phone.
As I get older I realize that time really isn't going to slow down. You told me that you can't work out as hard as you used to at the gym because of your joints. On the inside I really don't want to hear that because it makes me realize that one day there is going to be a day where I wake up and you're not there with me.
I wanted to get away so quickly that I forgot the price I'd have to pay. That price is time--time spent without you and Mom. Won't I already spend a large majority of my life without you? Why did I want to spend even more time without you? I don't know, and I'm sorry for that.
I wonder how you'll be with my kids. I wonder if you'll play the same games and teach them the same lessons. I wonder if I'll look at them in envy, wishing for that moment as a child again with my father.
I guess the simple way to say it is that I miss you.
It's no secret that I have more sensitivity to things than others. All you have to do is read the last few paragraphs to figure that out. But I got that from you, and it's the best gift I ever could've received. It's my weakness, sure, but it's also my greatest strength of all.
You know what made me write this? I was changing in my car and I remembered how you used to take me to baseball games on Sunday from church and I would have to change into my uniform in the backseat. In case you didn't know, there was a lot of crap I had to put on.
It was the cup, and the long socks, and the pants, and the button down jersey, and then the cleats that were always either one size too small or one size too large because Mom got them from Play It Again Sports.
I miss those days more than you can imagine. I wish as a kid I could understand just how much I would miss it. I do now.
One day you won't be here with me, that's no secret, but you'll be here in my faded memories constantly guiding me and making me smile. You were always the best at that, and you still are.
What makes a good father? What makes a good parent? I honestly don't know, but my guess is that if it makes you smile to reminisce about them, then they've probably done their job right.
You and Mom certainly fulfill that criteria. You fulfill that criteria and more.