He left yesterday to run some errands. He said he’d be gone an hour, but it was over two.
“You do this too, all the time. Don’t call him.” I told myself.
But they were needy, and the house was a mess, and the dog just peed on the tile, and I was frustrated, and I needed somewhere to put that frustration.
The phone rang twice before he answered.
“Hi-aye…?” He drew the end of that hi out, and I sensed the question mark at the end of it. He was on to me. The “You’re calling to check and see when I’m going to be home, aren’t you?” bit.
“Where are you?” I asked.
Way to be transparent. You could have covered with that funny story about Dash and the dishwasher. You could have been a little more subtle.
“I’ll be home in ten, babe.”
“No worries,” I faked. “Was just checking. Everything’s fine. Love you.”
He returned and the weekend care tasks shifted back into equilibrium. We cleaned and laughed and fixed lunch and talked about what we were going to do for Father’s Day. I changed that diaper; he brought the powder to me and reminded me to use it. He snapped her life jacket on; I told him she needed more sunscreen.
Leftovers for dinner and baths and pajamas and stories and kisses on cheeks while their eyelids fluttered and we whispered another goodnight. Sound machines and nightlights and doors closed and finally, to the couch.
“Impractical Jokers?” he asked.
“I want to say yes, but I’m working on something,” I answered.
I retreated to the bedroom to continue the Father’s Day slideshow I’d begun. And, in doing so, sank deeper into the memories that restore all the magic to the mundane.
Two hours of sifting through folders. Of dragging photos from “Austyn’s Soccer” and “Nella’s Dedication” and “Lainey’s Recital” and “Brandyn’s Football” and “Dash’s Birthday” to “Father’s Day Slideshow.” Of reliving birthday parties and camping trips and the day they were born and Christmas mornings and road trips and all of it. It’s easy to forget about all of those memories–that magical way he looks at them, how their tiny hands fit in his, the way he smiles when they’re sitting on his lap–when we only have two arms to help three really needy kids and he’s not home yet.
But right now, right after sitting on the couch with him this morning and watching him watch that slideshow, reliving it all with him–tears for both of us–I’m feeling really grateful to have one person out there in the world who knows exactly what it feels like to love them like I do. The confidence I feel in facing each tomorrow raising these kids, knowing that they have him too–there isn’t a grill or toolbox in the world that could represent what that means.
Life doesn’t always look as pretty as it does in a slideshow, but that’s what Father’s Day is for. Let us all replay the memories in our minds today, with a great sappy song and a big smile, remembering the way dads hold our hands, pick up the phone, hug us tight, show up, help us, look at us with pride and hope and promise and teach us how to change a tire. May every child have big strong arms to run to and a soft heart to call home.
Happy Father’s Day to all of you incredible dads. A shiny toolbox and soap-on-a-rope for all y’all today.
And have you seen Dove + Men’s Father’s Day commercial yet? Waaah. Love it so much.
Over @ehow talking about celebrating and recognizing dads.