The second person that I remember loving was my dad. I knew what it was long before I had the words to describe it. His long, curly hair, bell bottomed legs, too small t-shirt. He was cool and handsome. He was always angry and mostly drunk. And I loved him more than anything. I wanted to marry him. I wanted to carry his six packs and collect his baseball bat the second it swung from his hands wildly with a crack. The only men that have ever owned me are just like him, bluster and emotion. Glass castle kings, court jesters.
There were as many holes punched in the walls of my childhood home as there were beautiful moments of rock and roll in the big old Chevy. He is the person that taught me to hold up the facade by any means necessary. He is the man who built a wall of anger around my life. But I love him. Because of him I know how to see past the facade and beyond the anger. I know that was never his intention, the sending of me in the exact opposite direction. But I reckon that a lesson learned is a still a lesson learned regardless of how you get it.
My father is a reckless mix of heart and fear, his every cell is laced with unmet desires and blurry visions of former greatness. My grandest dream is to rise fully and completely from that legacy. Knowing in my chest that he did what he could with what little he was taught and forgiving him for not aiming higher. Knowing that as damaged as he was, there was always a roof over my head and food on my plate. There will always be countless kids who have had it worse. There will be kids who have it better and still see nothing but struggle. This is my life and I worship every stinking second that builds these years. The good ones, the bad ones, the whole lovely mess of it all.
Father’s day, for me, as it is for many, is a day to see how far I have come. I am who I am because of and despite the earth that grew me. I will never be able to go back and have the childhood that I think I deserved. But it is certainly far from over. I get to be the adult my universe deserves. And if I don’t, that ones on me.