Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Today, you would have turned 63 years old.

You preferred to take the first two weeks of July off, so I suspect you would have been on vacation today. Or maybe Mum would have finally convinced you to retire. Either way, I know you would not have been at work today.

You would have spent the early part of the day playing on your computer. Then either you and Mum would have gone to fly kites, or to pick up your gift, or maybe you would have spent the afternoon reading in the hammock. Whatever the activity was for the afternoon, it wouldn't have been too strenuous.

About an hour ago, I would have been on my way over to your house with my little family. You would have given me a quick hug, spoken fondly to my Son, and then pulled my Husbandly One aside to either tell him a dirty joke or show him your gift. Mum would have been in the kitchen, slowly sipping a beer while she barbequed dinner and made salad. My Sister would have stopped whatever she was helping Mum with to play with my Son. I would have stood at the end of the kitchen island, talking, and completing whatever small tasks Mum gave me: set the table, grab those rolls, get another chair from the basement.

Right about now, we would have sat down to dinner as a family. There would have been lots of conversation, lots of in-jokes, a few big laughs. After we ate, we all would have worked together quietly to put things in the dishwasher, wrap leftovers, make coffee, refresh drinks.

And then you would have opened your gifts. If Mum hadn't already given you her gift, it would be saved for the end, because everyone knows the gift from Mum was always a serious gift. You would open the little things from my sister and me, you would be thrilled with whatever we had bought. You would laugh over our birthday cards, the ones where we (traditionally) always vie to the declared Your Favourite. During the gift opening, my Brother would call from Toronto, wishing he could be here with the rest of us. You would talk on the phone, while the rest of us spoke quietly amongst ourselves during this pause....quietly to allow you to talk to Brother, but also so we could kind of listen in.

Eventually, the phone call would end, and we would finish the gift giving. If Mum had saved her gift for this moment, you would unwrap it and your jaw would drop. The most amazing smile would light your face, and you would say, "Nooooo....." And then Mum would smile and blush. Then we would all oooo and ahhhh over the new gift for a while.

Around nine pm, I would have stood up and declared it was time for me to get my little family home. Chances are I would not have hugged you as I left, or told you I loved you, because after all, I'll see you again in a few days.

That's how today would have gone if you were still here. It's not like I miss you or anything.

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