Sunday, April 9, 2017

(Un)birthday

Our family get-togethers were always Dad's birthday, Lori's birthday/Father's Day, and Thanksgiving.

Last year, he turned eighty. He wondered during the luncheon if I'd be lighting up a cake full of candles, but I didn't respond and I don't think he expected it (all the candles). Oh, the look on his face when he walked into the room and saw the blaze and felt the heat, made me realize he had secretly hoped for such fanfare. And that look on his face filled me with great joy, his secret hope realized.

His smile meant everything to me.

Happy birthday, Dad.

80 years old

His birthday hat left at his seat.
Hospitality looks to fill the spaces. A sense of belonging someplace. A sense of welcome. A feeling of worth. Being seen.

I joked with him that I'd stick an eight and a one on his cake this year. But this year, no cake. This year, an end of day reflection, and not long.

Oh, if he were here, what things would I say? The conversation in light of these past months would be very different than January niceties over cocoa and knitting. The grave doesn't answer back. It holds no answers. No warmth. Oh, if he were here, what things would he say?

***

I texted with a friend last night. I had been out of touch with her since Lori's hospitalization. I filled her in, briefly. I told her how I am back to getting my bearings, after being pummeled by waves repeatedly, I'm getting on my feet again and bracing. She knows from her own knocks. She knows about bearings. She commiserated.

But this: We rise stronger. Even if it doesn't feel like it. 


***

Yes, this year, this day, hot tea with extra honey. Thinking of April and May poetry teas with my girls, and wondering who will fill our table. Hospitality looks to fill those spaces with belonging, welcome and worth.

On, on.


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