My dad does not use Facebook, so changing my profile photo and posting a one-sentence shout out isn’t a very effective way of making him feel special. But my dad is probably the biggest fan of this blog ever, even when I forget about it for
days weeks at a time or write something ridiculous that could bring shame upon his house. He tells people about it. He consistently tells me he likes it. And for a man who keeps his feelings to himself most of the time, that’s a pretty big deal.
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My family didn’t really celebrate ALL OF THE DAYS the way some families do. We would mention the days, say “Happy Whatever,” and maybe make a card or special dessert or small gifts, but we spent so much time creating the celebration for the people at church that the parts for just us were smaller. We were always a little more focused on getting things done, or, when things were harder, just getting through the days. My mom made sure to have those little gifts for my sister and me, but when it came to my dad, you might go four or five years without something on the exact day it was expected to appear. And then, every few years and with really no indication it was coming, he would burst onto the gift-giving scene out of nowhere with something that took a lot of effort.
For my eighteenth birthday (or maybe twenty-first? I think eighteenth…) he came home with a beautiful guitar with the strings lowered a bit to make it easier for me to learn to play. I had mentioned that I wanted to learn to play, and had messed around with the guitar that was lying around our house, but I had no idea he was going to get one for me. And I love it — even though I’m still not incredibly skilled at playing it this many years later. It survived the tornado in its giant plastic case and it moves around with me.
Every time I take my guitar out of its case I think, for a moment, how unexpected that was, and how much it cost, and how much he (and my mom) love me.
And then I start searching high and low for a pick — where do all the guitar picks go? — and yell at Leo the cat who is trying to make a new home inside my guitar case and usually end up putting my guitar away and watching TV or making dinner or texting a friend. Because that’s life, and that’s what we do. My guitar sometimes stays in its case for weeks or even months at a time, but each time it comes out, I remember.