Hi. I know I haven't been gone for a full month yet, but I am writing to you because I really miss you. Remember that time that I told you I wouldn't miss you because I was mad for some-reason-I-don't-even-remember and swore that I wouldn’t? Well maybe I was wrong.
While this is my second time away from home for school, this move is much more permanent. I didn't really understand this until a few nights ago. This means no more coming home from the deli and giving you a giant hug in my smelly and dirty uniform before sitting on the couch reading my emails while you watch the Dodgers with our dog, Buckles, on our laps.
When my twin sister, Nicole, and I were younger we were all really close. I remember you sang us the ABCs and the Beverly Hillbillies theme song every night before bed. Today you swear that’s why you have two daughters in college, because we know our ABCs. I love when people talk about lullabies because I think of you and the fact that to this day I still know every word to that damn theme song.
I also distinctly remember going to a fair, Nicole and I must've been about seven or even younger. Of course we had to play one of those games where you win a stuffed prize, this one was a stuffed flower with a smiley face on it. When you won the game, you only got one prize. Once you realized that you would have to choose one of us to give the stuffed flower to, you either demanded a second or played more games until you won it again. I can't remember which, but I can remember the flower and the fact that it's sitting in my room back at home.
I remember the day that you went outside for a call and came back inside weeping. I remember looking at you wondering what in the world could make my dad, my best friend and my hero, so upset. That night I learned that Papa, your Daddy and best friend, went to Heaven.
After that things were a little different. At first I didn't understand what was going on, how you could be so sad and tired, but now I realize how you felt because I could never imagine losing you.
As I grew older we grew closer. I remember the night back in highschool when I got into a fight with my boyfriend in our driveway. I had grown accustomed to hiding everything from you, as most teenagers do, but when I walked in the door with tears down my face I couldn't escape your disapproving glare. That night I told you everything, to which you responded with "I didn't like him anyways."
The next morning you let me skip school and took me to a brunch place you thought I'd love, Peaches. We could’ve gotten the same things we ordered for half of the cost at our usual diner down the block, but you knew I liked cafes and flowers and brought me there instead. Little did I know that Peaches would end up being one of my favorite places in the world and that every time I'd go, I'd think of you.
Dad, I cannot thank you enough for everything you've done for me. Listening to all of my boy problems, making me Tofu after months of lecturing me that going vegetarian was going to kill me, taking me to countless doctors appointments (even the Gyno) and sitting in the waiting room reading Self-Help magazines, throwing an absolute tirade when I got fired from that stupid hippie restaurant in Slingerlands, driving me to check in on a friend at 11pm who I was convinced was dead because he didn't respond to my messages (spoiler alert he was asleep), letting me call you because I was sobbing my eyes out in Disney World when all of my friends and my boyfriend left me for each other, and always letting me be myself.
While I know it was hard for you, the moment you began to open up to me was the moment we became best friends. I remember the drive home for Christmas last year, you drove three hours to my school to come pick me up just to turn around and drive three hours back home. You nervously broke down and told me you and Mommy were separating. First, the look in you eyes was solemn, however after revisiting the scene I realized that perhaps your gaze was fearful. You were scared. Scared that Nicole and I were going to leave you.
Dad, you're my best friend in the entire world. There is no one else I'd rather call for the three minutes I have in my crazy week at Stop & Shop. There is no one else I'd rather go hiking with, just to fight the entire time, then get in the car and realize what we're fighting about is irrelevant. You're a Sagittarius and I'm a Gemini...we're bound to clash heads. But what makes our relationship so strong is that we can see eye to eye and realize that I am your daughter, you are my father, and nothing else matters.
While the world may see you as a middle aged man in L.L.Bean moccasins with an Afrim's Soccerplex water bottle and Buckles (with his ugly cherry-tomato eye), I see you as if you were a king on a throne because that's how important you are to me. My dad is awesome. My dad quit smoking after like 20 years. My dad used to be a Corrections Officer. My dad ran a 9 minute mile today. My dad loves the Dodgers. I find myself bragging about you like I do when my best friend does something because you are my best friend.
I saw the same look in your eyes, the one you had in the car that night, when I pulled out of the driveway to move down here last month. But I want you to know that while I may have physically left, I will never really leave you.
I can't wait until I graduate college and find you on the other side of the stage, probably crying and taking terrible pictures with your iphone. I can't wait until I land my first job and get some weird emoji filled text-message from you, probably crying, congratulating me. I can't wait until I introduce you to my future husband to which you, probably crying, will try to act all tough in front of. I can't wait until the day that my first son or daughter is welcomed into the world because of course you'll be there, you'll probably go to my doctors appointments (As you always have) too, and will-be crying.
I can't wait until I pull into the driveway of our messy and dysfunctional house to find you and Buckles sitting on the porch waiting for me to come home and give you-my probably crying father and best friend, a big hug.