Today's prompt asks: If you could have lunch with anybody, who would it be and what would you like to discuss?
You know, initially I wanted to go a little bit lighter with this one again, like yesterday. And a list of people popped into my head: Michelle Obama, Trey Parker, John Hamm and Jonathan Larson, to name a few, all for very different reasons. Also, I wasn't sure if this was an "anybody living or dead" question. I was going to throw that question out on Twitter to see how other people were going to answer it, but the truth is, there is one person above all the rest that I want to have lunch with. And that's my dad.
Forgive me for being sappy. But the fact is, although he died nearly 12 years ago now, he's been on my mind a lot lately. Probably the holidays. I know a big sob-fest is brewing; I don't know when it will hit, but it certainly won't be convenient.
I remember the first Christmas after my father died. He died in February, so it was a full 10 months later. And my family had been doing a good job (after the intial couple of weeks) of holding our shit together for each other. I don't know why; for me, it was a matter of trying to stay strong for my mom, to try not to be another sad thing in her life, you know? That was my 26-year-old logic at the time.
Anyway, I remember Christmas morning. I went to a gas station across the street from my apartment and bought one of those cheesy wrapped roses, went to the cemetery and left it on his headstone, still totally holding it together. Then I remember walking into my mother's house, balancing laundry and gifts, and just collapsing in tears. I remember her hugging me, and I remember me saying, "It's just so sad." Because there was nothing else to say. I literally have tears running down my face right now, so sad for that version of me.
Holidays and birthdays and anniversaries have gotten immeasurably easier over the past decade-plus. The sadness hits at the strangest times. But I guess it's not strange at all to have a loved one on your mind during the holidays.
My relationship with my father wasn't easy. I've written about it before. We were just of two very different generations, two very different mindsets. Both stubborn Italians with dark hair, short stature and big eyebrows. I look just like him. And he was a super-fun guy. The life of the party, really. People loved him.
Anyway, I'm not answering the question. I'd love to have lunch with my dad. And I want to know what he thinks of me now. So much has happened since he died. I did a complete career jump from journalism to marketing. I lost a bunch of weight. I moved a lot. I had a couple of relationships, serious and not-so-serious. I met Greg, got enagaged, got married. What would he think of Greg? My parents were self-employed, and I always thought that was crazy. It's so hard to work for yourself. There are no excuses. And look- I married someone who is self-employed.
When my two older sisters got married, he walked them down the aisle. To each of them, right before they began that journey to the altar, he said something that made them cry. What would he have said to me? I would ask him that, at lunch.
I would love to see him with Jane. Could I invite her to this lunch too? She has never asked me about my dad; to her, I just don't have one. It's never come up, although I am sure it will, and soon. He would love her, of course, and I wish they had even a day to spend together. Just so I could get a picture of them, and put it up on my piano.
Would he be proud of me? This is mostly what I want to know. He questioned everything I did in my life. Every decision I made. And it pissed me off. And we fought. Of course, now I know he was just looking out for me. He wanted my life to be easier than his. But when you're a teenager, or an early 20-something, you can't see that. Now, as a parent, it's so clear. What would he think of me as a parent? So many questions.
I miss you Dad, so much. And I so much wish we could have this meal together, even though I know it will never happen.