It is Father's Day. A day when I pause to think of him and what he means in my life. It hasn't always been easy to love him and be loved by him. When I was a tempestuous teenager, he wrote me a letter that began like this: "My poor child...". I hated him.
That was then. This is today. Today I love him. I love him more every day, always.
When I think of him, I see his eyes. Inquisitive, mischievous, tired, soft, loving. When he laughs, he takes me with him. His laughter reduces his eyes into small slits of happiness while he claps his hands in utter satisfaction. Sometimes he chokes from laughing so hard, as if his body couldn't catch up with the funny moment.
He sits at his desk, always searching, exploring, investigating new interests and technologies, seeking to better himself and those around him. He is an intense, passionate man. So talented, it makes my head spin.
Buried behind his computer, his reading glasses teetering on the tip of his nose, he curses at one of the twenty-something tab permanently open on his monitor. What is my password for this, he quips. I could have sworn that was it, he adds. Thus begins the search for the missing code while spewing a few more unmentionable words.
When he sings Charles Aznavour, Gilbert Becaud, Michel Sardou, and others of his time, I become still. It is his voice I want to hear. Airy, velvety, reaching for the high notes and almost getting them, I am transported. He sings of love, loving, and being loved. And when he does, he cries. He is moved by the message, by the tenderness of the words, by the memories of his long life. And when he cries, I cry. I cry for the man he is in my life, for wanting him to know how much he matters.
Underneath his controlled stance, beats a tender heart, childlike, vulnerable, overflowing with genuine desires to help and be of service. His eyes give it all away. They tear up often: when he laughs; when he's tired; upon waking in the morning; being outside on a windy day or on a cold day. Just like mine.
There was a time when his gaze made me uncomfortable. He invaded my innermost self. Daring to match his stare was to allow him to see my own vulnerability, my need to be loved by him. I wanted to let him in but guarded myself lest we would meet in our pains, our suffering, our aspirations, our fears. I couldn't afford to know him as a simple human being. I needed him to protect me, to tell me everything was going to be ok. He needed to be a super-human because I wasn't.
Today, I crave his gaze. When I allow myself to dive into his eyes, I see him for who he is. Nothing more, nothing less. I see the man who is my father, I see the promises of growth and beauty, and I want more. When I see him, time ceases to tick and we are together continuing on our journey to becoming better people.
I love him because he gave me life, because he always does his best, and he never gives up. I love him because of who he is and always has been. Mostly, I love him because I do. Simply.