"Oooh, no, Luke I didn't make it to the cleaners today....I was watching Alex all day and couldn't get away. Parenting is hard!" *
"No, Jim, I don't exactly recall doing a River Dance with the newly purchased boot-shaped beer mugs from the St. Arnold's brewery tour.....but thank you so very much for the proof...I mean....video." **
You get the gist.
Sometimes I can use some sort of brain injury related excuse, but for people who have known me a while, the whole "I was run over by a car, you know! Cut me some slack will you?!" only goes so far.
But lately, my memory is starting to fail me in a way that is really alarming me.
I'm afraid I am starting to forget my dad.
And not just my dad, but all the looks, smells and stories that he would tell. Stories that all of us would tell and re-tell. The conversations we would have over and over and over....and later laugh about having them over and over and over. Stories that we all know the words to, but it was the way he told them, that made them as much a family heirloom as any picture or antique.
A fav is the story of when Tam almost got attacked by wild dogs at a boy scout camp out (one night outside, mind you). He always ended the story by saying that weekend was worse than going to Vietnam. He volunteered, by the way.....for Vietnam, not to be a leader at the camp out. Trust me, it makes a difference.
But also things that were just him.
Like how his collar was always popped when he put his shirt on after getting out of the pool.
How he always hummed "Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em" when we pulled out of the driveway to go on vacation...even if we were just going to the airport.
Or the blonde and gray stubble on his face even after one day of not shaving. (That is kind of an anomaly around our house. Luke stopped shaving once for 3 weeks while we were in China, and he looked only slightly more manly than the teenager that delivered our pizza the night we got back. Did I mention the kid was on a bike?)
It does feel good to know I can hold on to the way I would wear his robe when I didn't feel good. Like every little girl who wants to physically wrap themselves in the comfort and strength that their dad embodies, I would pull his huge, heavy robe on. Or that, even in adulthood, my brother and I always wore his shoes around the house in the summer. Tam looked normal. Me? I looked like a four year old wearing huge, black Crocs.
It's just that it all seems so far away now.
So far removed.
I am afraid that never hearing him rehash the day we found my wedding dress, the sparkle and magic of that day is going to fall flat. After pouring over lists and lists of potential Father-Daughter songs, he picked the perfect one. Later, we practiced every night on the back patio for our first dance-him whispering in my ear the steps so we wouldn't forget even though we both knew which step followed the one before it. I mean, how hard is the box-step? He even wanted to do a practice run with me wearing my shoes and my big, huge slip so he "could get used to it before the big day". That, over time, it is going to fade away like the ending of a song. Like that very same whisper.
Then again, our Father-Daughter song was "Unforgettable"......so maybe that is a good sign.
*"Watching Alex" is sometimes also known as "Watching Millionaire Matchmaker" while Alex is playing in jail.
**Wha?? I had a babysitter all weekend...and let me tell you, nothing says "I am a good mom" like drinking for 10 hours straight.