Father's Day - 2009

June 21, 2009 in the rain, Maplewood

I never thought about being a father until I became one.
Never thought about the responsibility, never imagined the joy, never knew what was hiding inside.
I had never stared at another human being and wondered what a miracle they were.
Never put a child's little fingers in my mouth and tasted my own flesh.

Anything a father can write about their son seems like a cliche, and maybe that is the point
Father's all share a feeling that has been passed on forever
A feeling so deep inside you couldn't imagine it was there until you first held those arms, those legs, looked into those eyes
Songs you had been saving your whole life to sing
Words that had been whispered before you could speak or understand come pouring out of your lips

Being a father is the connection from your earliest being to beyond your time
Being a father is being inside the long beautiful act of letting go
Being a father is sharing the deepest part of yourself with the person you love more than anything
Being a father is the dream I never remembered come true

Jackson is down in the kitchen having negotiations with fresh strawberries and trying out new sounds
Stephie, who slept ten hours through the rain, is taking the hot dark coffee I prepared last night and making it light
I am on the third floor listening to many versions of St. James Infirmary - from Louis to a beautiful whispered version by Dave Van Ronk, to the Doors.
It is raining as it has done the entire month

I am supposed to be sleeping in.
Father's Day is a day every father is left alone to sleep in the early morning.  You get a free pass.
I cannot  go back to sleep.  
I want to be down slicing the strawberries and feeling them disappear from my fingers.

I want to be looking at Jackson's cheeks and eyebrows and hair as he runs through my spread legs.   Rubbing noses, asking for kisses.
I want to hold hands in the kitchen with Stephie and Jackson and turn in circles and sing the  song about the finger in the air.

Father's Day is the day to do what father's do every single day.
They get to feel the love they made.
They get to take in and roll it over and hold hands and share kisses with the most improvised creation they will ever have.

Suddenly everything is about being a father
It sits behind everything you do and pushes you further
It makes failure like a dip on a roller coaster
It makes exhaustion a place you get to honestly
It is the meaning behind what would otherwise be mindless tasks
It shows you how imperfection is perfect
It is about how deeply you can cry and how hard you can laugh
It is so much bigger than the universe
It is as small as a shoelace