This is my dad.
Sitting on his lap is me, wearing a flower girl dress, with wedding cake remnants in my mouth.
I still really love cake.
My family story is unusual, and bumpy, but it is mine nonetheless. Over the years, I have grown to love it and embrace it.
My parents had me when they were in college, and broke all the rules that Christian College Couples are expected to follow. My mom dropped out of school, and I am forever indebted to her love and hard work. I was told that my parents tried to make things work but didn’t get along, so my dad moved away to Florida, and for the first few years of my life, I didn’t know who he was.
But I wanted to know him, and five year-old me couldn’t understand why everyone always assumed that my grandfather was my dad.
Papa was old! My real dad wasn’t old. Everyone was wrong.
My mom tried her best, and told me that I needed to pray. She taught me that if I prayed, God would give me the desires of my heart.
So I prayed.
One day I came home from school, and walked up the creaky wooden steps to the front porch of the Big House, and was welcomed by a letter – a letter from my dad, as a result of a call from Papa, who sometimes acts like he is an affluent member of the Italian Mafia.
The letter told me he thought about me everyday, and that he loved me.
At first I thought this letter was only my mother’s attempt to pacify me, but eventually I believed her, and began writing letters to my dad on a regular basis.
I told him about my love for First Grade, and he told me about his cat named PeeWee.
I still have those letters, and I still love them.
After the letters came emails, and after the emails came short & shy phone calls, and eventually, we met.
I didn’t like him as much as I liked his letters, and was angry when he told me I couldn’t drink coffee.
My mom always let me drink coffee.
But my feelings changed.
During his other visits he picked me up from Ramona Elementary School, and we walked home together, and he made me laugh because we share the same sense of humor.
My parents lived out Journey’s Faithfully, and discovered a love they never knew they had.
They got married & added my sister to our clan.
My dad worked really hard to provide for us, and introduced me to Classic Rock and The NeverEnding Story Trilogy, and the importance of The God Father.
I love my dad.
I don’t express it well enough, but I love him.
I’m glad the Army decided to give him back to us, with all of his hurting bones and crooked back, and a love for eating Spam that I will never understand.
So here’s to new beginnings, and more cake.