I just left the Captain in bed, reading to the little boys. They looked adorable, tucked under the covers, as they listened to another exciting chapter of Hiro's Quest. It's late, because we had everyone over for Father's Day, and the last of the cousins just left. It seemed like a ridiculous idea to host the celebration, considering what we're up against this week, but frankly, we have possession of the Captain's father, and we didn't want to deny his sisters access to their dad. It turned out to be a lovely day, full of food, fun, and family, which is the most important part.
Naturally, I think of my own father on this day. He died when I was nineteen, so there have been decades spent without him. My memories of him are like excised scenes from a movie-brief, and incoherent.
I recall sitting on his lap, before he went to the hospital to have surgery.
I have a vision of him driving the Winnebago on our summer trip across the country. We stopped somewhere to go fishing, and he helped us take the Sunnies off our bamboo poles.
I remember dancing with him at my sister's wedding.
And of course, there are less benign memories, of anger, disappointment, and drinking. Once, my sister and I went to an event with him, and we ate dinner twice, hoping it would soak up the alcohol before we had to drive home down the Parkway.
I've certainly heard stories about Dad, from my mother, and his friends. They all describe him as smart, funny, and loyal. He was a New Jersey State Trooper, and he wrote a book about that organization. I have an autographed copy, inscribed to "My Blondie Blue-Eyes." Over the years, I've met men who worked with him, and each one has told me what a great man he was, and what a pleasure it was to know him. Their recollections blend with mine, and my fading portrait of him grows a little more detailed.
The truth is, my father died before I could fully take his measure as a man. It takes time, and perspective, to view your parents as individuals, possessing the same feelings and faults as our own. I didn't get to know my father beyond the narrow definition of "parent," and now I feel like I'm struggling to hang on to even those remembrances.
I went to check on the Captain and the boys, and they are slumbering in our big bed. Five's head is resting next to his dad's, and Four is tucked up against him. Sleep washes the years away, and once again they are babies, safe in their father's arms.
I hope they'll remember.