What I Miss Most
Winter is here, and, like it or not, so are the holidays that I try my best not to think about the rest of the year. This will be my third fatherless Christmas season. I think missing him gets hardest on November 1st and stays that way until December 26th. The only thing worse than missing him exponentially more for a period of 55 days is that adding another year gets harder, not easier. Do not let someone tell you that time heals all wounds, because I don’t think it does. The only good thing about the Christmas season coming around again is that I think about Dad more. I remember the things I miss most about him so vividly that I can almost hear his voice again.
I miss the smell of Red Bull, Tulsack, and Marlboro Red Shorts on his work shirts. That’s why I get a Red Bull twice a year–to share on his birthday and deathday. I don’t know what the heavenly equivalent of Red Bull is, but I often imagine him sitting down with one to share with me. Most people don’t know he’s the only reason I like Red Bull. After I turned 14, he would always get me one when he bought himself one. It was one of the few things he and I shared that was ours.
I miss watching the Kansas City Chiefs play on Sundays with him. We like to say that Dad’s life was family, football, and God (not always in that order). Mom has a great picture of him wearing an authentic Chiefs helmet during one of their games. He thought it would bring the Chiefs good luck, butI’m pretty sure that they lost that game. It didn’t matter much because it gave us a pretty great photo.
I miss that stupid smirk. That smirk was almost like his signature when he’d done something he wasn’t supposed to. He smirked a lot when he called my boyfriend a douchebag for the first threeyears of our relationship and when he demonstrated the 2/3 rule to us before our last Jingle Bell Ball. There was always trouble when he had that smirk.
I miss getting cryptic texts while I’m in class. It was always in my senior English class. Ms. Merrill would make us put our phones in a shoe rack for extra credit, but I usually kept my phone in my backpack. Almost every day at 1:45, Dad would text me to ask what I was doing. I would always reply ‘I’m in class, just like yesterday’. Then, he would tell me to stop being a terrible student and put my phone away, even though he was the one that texted me first. Whenever someone texts me at 1:45 during a class, I just have to laugh a bit because that’s what he would do.
Obviously, I miss a lot of things about Dad now that he’s gone. What I miss most of all is being his baby girl. He never missed an opportunity to tell me how proud he was of whatever I was doing that week, or how lucky my ‘douchebag’ was to have me, or how much he loved me. I remember taking my college acceptance letters to his hospital room our last Thanksgiving together and how big his smile was to see I’d been accepted at all three schools I’d applied to. He promised that he’d find a way for me to go wherever I wanted to go.
Sometimes I worry that I’m going to forget his voice or the way he smelled because three years feels like such a long time to be gone. This year, I’ve decided to spend the holidays writing down everything I miss about Dad, all the times that mattered and the memories I’ll have forever. It won’t make the holidays any easier, and I’ll probably still cry once a week until these 55 days are over, but it gives me something to hold onto when I need it most.