Happy Birthday, Dad. You would have been 88 today.
I miss you today, Dad. I miss your wisdom; I could use some right now.
I don’t know if you can read this, Dad, or hear me, but I’d like to pull up a chair anyway, so we can talk. You see, I’m just not feeling that confident today, Dad.
I know, I know. You’d say “Why not Squeegie? Life’s what you make of it, and you’re doing a pretty darn good job, from what I can see.” And I would smile, despite myself, and thank you for the vote of confidence.
Truth is, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life, Dad, either from stubbornness, or just plain stupidity, and I’m beginning to think that that old saying is about me – you know, the one you used to say all the time: Failure to plan is planning to fail. Well, I failed to plan, Dad.
Before you say anything, I’m not bemoaning my life – it has been good. I’m just recognizing, at my age, that if I had planned, life would be a lot different right now. I’d be retiring with my friends, and looking forward to spending many days with my grandchildren. Instead, I don’t even have a full-time job, so retirement is definitely not in the cards.
I know what you’re thinking: you weren’t a very good role model, because you failed to plan also. ( Oh, by the way, I was mad at you for that – for leaving Mom with so little, despite all the money that you made.) Seems I’m doing the same to myself.
But it’s more than that, Dad. I just don’t feel like I can trust myself, enough to make right choices, career-wise. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I have a hard time telling if I’m doing a good job, or am appreciated. I always feel apologetic or inadequate. Why is that?
No, don’t start, it’s not all your fault. Okay, you didn’t help, but I’m an adult now, you’d think I’d be over that. I’m just tired of doubting myself.
Remember when my marriage fell apart, and how the day I realized it, I drove directly to you? You sat in your chair and listened, while I crumpled on the couch, spewing anger, and disappointment, and heartbreak. I felt so defeated, and you cried with me, and shook your head, and raged on my behalf. I don’t remember exactly what you said, but this is what I heard:
“Squeege (your pet name for me), I don’t know why this has happened to you, but I do know this: you are a bright, loving woman, and you give your heart and soul to everything you do, and everyone you love, and you deserve better than this. Goddamn it, you deserve better than this!”
You could be a bastard, a lot of the time, Dad, but you were also my rock.
I’m just sorry that today, you weren’t here for me to tell you so. As for my problems, guess I’ll have to figure this one out on my own.
I was too proud to tell you when you were alive, Dad (and too stubborn), but truth is, I needed you. Still do.
Thanks for listening, and by the way, Happy Father’s Day.