This morning, the day after Father’s day, my Husband left the house a mixed bag of emotions: sorrow, relief, love, exhaustion, and (i hope) a sense of being cherished. We waved goodbye from the window, Violet exclaiming through her tiny blue binoculars (a sight to smile back at, indeed!).
When suddenly, we saw his car backing up the road, in reverse…
A flat tire!
Just the punctuation we needed on this shit-sandwich of a weekend! LOL.
But… it turns out, the flat tire was a blessing in disguise (as was the lesson we learned this weekend). Jacob spent time with us outside changing the tire, and we all had a chance to laugh and pick weeds from the rain-betrodden soil, and eventually, we waved him off again (this time to the tire store) and cheerfully looked forward to him stopping back home for lunch.
In that space, between the flat tire and lunchtime, I let Violet watch some TV so I could get some things off my mind. I found myself composing an apology letter/poem to Jacob, and when he arrived home for lunch, he read it next to the kitchen counter while I made grilled cheese. And with happy tears in his eyes he hugged me real tight, and all was well in our home once again.
I asked him if I could share the letter on my blog. And then I asked him again. And both times he said yes. So… here it is: the story (in letter form) of how I, Beth Meyer, ruined Father’s Day weekend. And also, the story of how we made a Father’s Day choice that ended in a bittersweet lesson about prioritizing our daughter.
Sweet week to you, my friends!
dear sweet fool o’ mine,
i swear my intentions for fathers day were
forsooth! just weeks ago, i laid upon our quiet bed, laptop lit bright: a beacon of carefully laid plans.
and shining in my mind’s eye lay you: the apple.
i saw the crisp red shine of your smile and your sweet tears of rolling joy
as carefully, i plucked the most majestic bushel of memories for you: my sweet orchard of hope.
yea though i had tamed mine glorious expectations of infamy. for… just a fortnight later,
i went and got us a dog.
(well, we got us a dog.
we both know it was all my fault.)
yep, there we were:
slumped over plates of breakfast buffet,
poking at the ants on the sill,
munching on those weird cubes of potato nostalgia,
we were bringing home a beagle.
you were hugging him tight with tears in your eyes,
heart aglow as his ears flopped soft in the breeze of our silver CRV.
and i thought: BOY DID I NAIL IT.
and yes, it could have been magical.
yes, we could have ground our hearts to the ground:
you – taking late night moonwalks of guilt,
me – tearfully locking him away in safety,
us, working and working to convince our terrified toddler,
but…come fathers day morning, as bleary-eyed dawn struggled to pierce the sky,
your car-tears returned (this time burning hot on my heart).
we rode quietly through the storm for an hour. (an eternity) waiting for that damn kennel to open.
squeezing each other’s hands, in turn, in kind, in forgiveness.
and in that moment, i knew… it was official:
i. had ruined. fathers day.
i did it.
beth the magnificent.
beth the excellent gifter.
beth the planner.
i’m so t e r r i b l y sorry, my love.
i know you forgave me, but: i’m sorry.
my hope for us, is that maybe (someday), we can remember the salvaged parts:
the ill-advised boston cream pie,
the horror-movie rental,
the way violet sang to you and exclaimed SURPRISE!!
the painted garland,
the train ride…
the crock pot hot dogs,
the ice-cream-dress dancing around the room…
maybe someday we can remember this not as a loss, but
as a prophecy.
(it’s already poetic, you know?)
maybe someday we’ll remember (fondly?): the father’s day choice.
indeed, i’ll never forget (will you?)
how, in that car ride,
(backseat finally relieved of little paws)
i held your heart in mine as you choked:
“let’s go home to our real baby.”
signed with love, regret, hope, and a promise to do better next year,