When my son and I took our trip to California a few years ago now, in San Diego we went to the pier and met Papa Alex the psychic. Ok, I met Papa Alex as he took his younger cousin and friend to get their faces painted.
He said to me “You are an artist and every day your birthday.” Years earlier, I called into a radio station at the last minute and got a reading from John Edward over the phone. He said at one point, your dad is saying “Happy Birthday” and my sons was on the horizon.
Tonight on the eve of his fifteenth birthday and Father’s Day two days away I had a moment to think past the birthday and picked up a Real Simple magazine. I was enjoying the travel with children articles and what to wear on vacation as our Europe trip is in sight. I turned the page and had to set it down. The article stared up at me entitled, “Dads & Daughters: Reflections on that cozy, complicated, heartwarming, wondrous, one of kind relationship in pictures and words.” Ouch, it hurts just to read the title and yet I put the magazine aside and started my office search. I was looking for a letter my father wrote to me in the castle during my semester twenty-six years ago in Europe. It was not to be found so I kept going as I knew I would find something else.
My mind started going to why am I doing this and not writing about my son’s birthday. I have written a lot about my father and here it is two days from Father’s Day and I haven’t even thought about it, focused on tomorrow’s birthday.
There it was right in front of me his tackle box and I started to arrange his lures. His picture stands next to it. He is very young dressed up and posing behind a general store, no longer in business, that I drive by each day with my son at least twice. The store owner is now “egg salad lady” as we years ago met her in church and that is what she brought for refreshments when it was her turn. She gave me this picture one morning of my father. I treasure it as I see him there each time we pass her home where the store was underneath and where the picture was taken.
He taught me to fish a little further down this very same road where the picture was taken and I point it out each time I pass it. He had that very tackle box with him and snacks, those weird orange circus peanut candies that I do not like. They are squishy and weird, but he loved them. We caught small rock bass in that spot.
I in turn, taught my son to fish along this road, but our claim to fame fish, so far is our twenty-one-inch large mouth bass from a lake in Michigan. We display it proudly in our home. How many boys catch their big fish with their mom. My favorite picture of my son, his grandson, is him fishing for the first time on his own last year in Sanibel. I was watching over him with such pride as the skill was officially passed on.
I get it now, “every day your birthday” as he keeps sending that message to us and letting us know he is watching over. Father’s Day follows a birthday, it’s that simple.
To all the dads out there and those we may need to look a little harder to find or forgive, Happy Father’s Day, now go fishing!