I’ve got a son off at college, for two years. He never calls and hardly texts. Holidays and birthdays have gone by without even a text.
We drove to his college twice and he was too busy to see us. I thought we had a great relationship. Always gave him love and support.
Recently, we found out he was visiting town with his girlfriend and he didn’t even let us know or come by.
I have a letter for your son:
On my birthday last year, I sat on my porch and watched the sky. I sipped beer, took deep breaths, and counted stars.
I was thinking about a dead man. But I wasn’t sad—sadness wore off many years ago. I was lonely. And loneliness never fully goes away.
A little about me:
I learned how to drive stick-shift on my own. I learned how to tie a necktie by reading a book. I never learned to shave.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that the biggest parts of my life happened without my father.
For instance, when I was younger, I bought a truck. I presented a boxful of cash to the lady selling it. It was a big day.
When she handed me the title, I was king of the Wiregrass. I wanted to tell Daddy about it. I wanted someone to be proud of me.
And my wedding, of course. I was alone that day, too. I stood in the groom’s dressing room. I looked at my reflection and talked to myself.
“You’re a good boy, Sean,” I said aloud. I pretended it was Daddy saying those words.
And when I finished writing my first book. My wife threw a small party. There were illegal amounts of biscuits, tomato gravy, Conecuh Quickfreeze sausage, and Hank Williams music. Family. Friends. Layer cake.
But no Daddy.
I’ve gone through some unfun things, too, like anyone else. For example: when doctors found a lump in my wife’s breast. I was so worried that I quit eating.
I wish Daddy could’ve cheered me up with a story. Or at least taken me fishing. Pipe dreams.
Or: when my longtime friend did me wrong. I needed my Daddy then. I needed someone to tell me that this life will kick you in the teeth, but your daddy will always love you.
Also, I wish my father could’ve seen the winning grand slam of the World Series—hit by a kid from Pace, Florida. God. He would’ve loved that.
I wish Daddy could meet the girl I married. And my newborn niece. My dog. My in-laws. My friends.
I wish Daddy could’ve seen me grow into myself.
It’s taken my whole life do it. And my whole life happened without him. The whole duck and pigeon show. He never taught me how to tie neckties, drive a stick-shift, talk to girls, or balance a checkbook.
There’s a hole in me. It doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s a hole nonetheless, and I can’t change that.
Call your daddy today. I wish I could call mine.