You’re growing up. The last two years you’ve gone from barely stringing together fractured thoughts to relaying your dreams in detail, recounting events long since passed, and expressing your excitement about the future. In retrospect, it’s happening faster than I thought it would.
It’s now 2018, as of a little over a week ago. Of course there are New Years Resolutions underway, but also plenty of time reflecting on the year passed. It was tough, kiddo. There was so much happiness and so much sadness. There was excitement and worry. I was more scared than I’ve ever been, but I also feel more complete than I ever have before.
My father passed away on October 27th. He used to read these blogs and call me and ask about them. This blog has always very much been about the relationship between you and I, but it was also a way for my father and I to express ourselves a little more than we ever had before. We were never good at that, expression.
As the weeks stretched on in the hospital, and as it became more and more clear that the prognosis was becoming a reality, terrifyingly ahead of schedule, something switched. I saw my dad in that bed, growing older and thinner and more tired and less resolute. His strength was fading as was his inhibitions. We began opening up, in a way we never had before. We held hands and I kissed him and we said I love you. We looked at each other in the eye and spoke deliberately and intently. We knew one of these conversations would be the last.
As it happens, I will never forget leaving the hospital the last time, and what he said to me: “Make Memories.”
I’ve had this revelation, as it were. I think there is a defining moment in everyone’s lives when they can, without a doubt, classify themselves as an adult. To be fair, at 34 years old, everyone on the planet would already have said I was an adult. However, I would always tell people that I was still just a big kid. Something about that kept me from having to admit responsibility for more aspects of my life. I was able to dismiss responsibilities or requirements because they didn’t quite fit my persona.
The day I gave the eulogy at my father’s funeral I became a man, a true adult. But I’m not ready yet. I am not ready to admit that my dad won’t call me to bother me at work, just to say hi. I’m not ready to admit that I won’t be able to call him and ask about fixing an appliance or building a fence. I am not ready to admit that I will never be able to show him how great my life has become. I am not ready to admit that he won’t be here to tell me he’s proud of me.
I miss him, kiddo, and I have so many regrets. I promise to do my absolute best to keep us close and let you know how proud you make me every single day.