When my mother telephoned us this morning, she called my cell phone rather than the house phone. I was puzzled until she asked if we were camping. Father’s Day is a day to do what Dad wants and it was a very reasonable assumption that Greg would want to be camping on Father’s Day. In fact, that would have been a great idea.
We weren’t, of course, camping this Father’s Day. With the end of school, I think all I could have managed was what we did do. Greg got a cool t-shirt, a pair of crocs, and a tire cover for the motorhome.
All wonderful things that he’ll use regularly. More importantly though, we spent a day letting him set the agenda, letting him be selfish, letting him sleep in the car while I drove, letting him say where we’d eat breakfast. We took his mother with us too. This is the first Father’s Day without Greg’s father. Being there for his mother was important as well.
Holidays take on new meaning and new layers of feeling with each death in one’s life. Not a major event goes by that I don’t wonder what my father would have thought of this, would he have been proud, would he have been there. Father’s Day is bittersweet this year without my father-in-law. The empty chair at the breakfast table stood out to me but remained unspoken. We celebrated Greg’s fatherhood without dwelling on the loss of his own father. I think it’s a comfort thing — we might have cried, we might have gotten swept up in sadness.
My children, however, are so clear and direct about their feelings. As we wrapped Greg’s gifts this morning (hey, he likes to sleep late . . . we had time!), Ruthie said to me, “If Grampa were alive, we’d be wrapping more presents, wouldn’t we?”
Yes, honey, we would be. And, thank you for thinking of him.
Memoir Mondays is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.