It’s funny, really. Five years seems to have flown by faster than I ever thought it could. Eldest sibling told me something once – that the moment I start working, for real, life would speed up to faster than I could wobble with it. It seems, though, that the greatest speed took hold when you left.
Last night, lying in bed with Cam and Shmooshy, watching the Powerpuff Girls, Cam stood up and jumped off the bed. Mentally, I marvelled. How did my little 50centimetre miracle bundle become this tall, long-legged wonder of learning and growing? When the heck did that happen? I know when it happened. It happened when you weren’t with me to console me at 4am with funny stories and half-cups of tea. It happened when you were not on the phone, telling me how to do things, without stopping me from doing it my way.
How you would have grinned through these five years. How you would have clapped your hands and cuddled. How you would have sung all the Happy Birthdays to Cam, and her cousins. How you would have talked to me and said “the child needs…”.
Sometimes I hear you say that, in my head. Like the time we were speaking and I was trying not to sink into the chair and pretend like a lot of what was happening was not happening. And you said, you said “the child just needs love. the rest you’ll figure out”.
As always, you were right.
You said you weren’t worried about me. You said, in love, I’d be blessed, even when I doubted you and crossed my eyebrows. Even when I snorted in derision and listened to you say “It’s the honey of life, and sometimes the jar just isn’t easy to open. One day, it’ll be easy to open. It really is that simple”.
…Papa, love your princess so that she will find loving princes familiar…
You said you weren’t concerned. Whether I was alone or not. You said I’d make it through just fine. Possibly a little off-kilter but you weren’t worried that I’d fall over. Falling over is normal, you said. You said it was the part where I’d let something keep me down, that you knew was impossible.
So, when I was alone, I thrived on the faith you had in me to get through it, to embrace it and to learn from it.
And when I was not alone anymore, funny things would happen and I would know, somehow, that you were watching.
I wish I was a glow worm, a glow worm’s never glum. ‘Cos how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum!
What can I tell you about these five years? That I grew. That I learnt. That I danced. That I laughed. And I cried. I made tea, at 2am. And I wondered. I fought with myself and sometimes, I won. I fought with everyone else and sometimes, I lost. That I hoped, all along, that you were proud.
Now. Now, you have mama with you. That must’ve been a reunion beyond all compare. How she’d missed you. How I realised, long after you had gone, that your enduring love was something that I could only hope to replicate in my own life. The reason why I only realised that so late in life, is something I do not question. I guess I realised it only when I was ready to. I’m working on it, by the way. Heh.
When Mama went, I stayed up one night and went through the family computer. She’s left me the books to write, you see. Funny, somewhere, I always knew one of you would. I found all the little things you’d written me, some banal, frankly terrible writing of my own and, I found things mom had written. I was awed. It turns out, I didn’t just get this from you, I get it from both of you.
You said, one day, I’d see more of mom in myself than I would see you. I balked and said “no, no, I am more like you than I am mom, and mom even says so”.
Of course, you were right and I started to catch myself, with my left arm flung over my head, again snorting in derision as someone told me how I should behave and how I should be. Which was, for all reasons beyond muster, not being myself. How I’ve started to see her in the gentle firmness I sometimes have to take. How I see her in the frank determination to not give up, or waver in a belief that I wholly embrace. I see her in my lack of fear, and I see her in my always-concern for the people I love. I see her in the way I am a mother, more worried about whether or not I have loved every moment enough, and not worried about how many moments there really are.
As always, you were right.
As for you. You who is in the words and the working-all-night-because-this-has-to-get-done-ness. You who taught me how to make eggs, and now Cameron demands that I make them like that for her, on Saturday mornings. She says “like the way your Dad taught you to”. I guess it’s hilarious that I’d never told her that you taught me how to make them. She’s just always known. Nobody knows that I once phoned you and said “Dad, I’m too embarrassed to phone Mom so, please, how the heck do you boil an egg!?!”. Well, if they’re reading this, they’ll know now.
You said ” you have good friends”. I thought I did then. You didn’t tell me to expect them to be even more awesome. You didn’t tell me to expect that the speed-dial list would slim down, and that I’d actually love that part. That there would be such richness of life in the group of people who I love, and who love Cam and I. Now I look at them and I know. I feel more a part, than I do apart. Which, as you know, is what I struggled with for so many years growing up. How it was you that taught me the importance of honouring that every time I got to hold hands, laugh or feel the true company of people who are not afraid of being themselves. You said, “with time, all things do come”.
As always, you were right.
How you and Mom are still a part of every single day. In every single thing I do. Still, in the way I write things. Still, in the way that this life I live, is the one you both gave to me, in love. Still, in the life I’ve been bestowed with caring for, and the small person who is becoming bigger and so like me it’s scary and wondrous all at the same time.
I love you and miss you every single day, Dadadadad.