Monday was my wife’s first day back to work since the birth of my son.
So Monday was also my first day driving both kids home from my parent’s house. And for whatever reason, very surprisingly, the drive home was rather emotional for me.
Maybe it was the realization that this is the last one. I’ll never have another first day of driving my child home from my parent’s house. This one is it. Our family is settled at this point. But to be honest, I wasn’t thinking about my son really at all. I was focused on my daughter.
She likes to listen to music, a lot. And she has favorites for sure (N’SYNC, Katy Perry, Adele, etc), but today she said, “Daddy let’s listen to something new”. I started with “Hello” by Adele, a good strategy or expanding her catalog is to go with artists she already likes. It didn’t work, she didn’t want to hear it. Another strategy is to go to songs I play on guitar for her. So as I scrolled through the associated songs to “Hello” and I noticed “Let Her Go” by Passenger, a song I frequently play for Jocelyn. I put it on, she says she likes it, and we start to sing together.
About the second line of the first verse the tears start to flow down my cheeks. My mind filled with thoughts of Jocelyn at prom, going to college, and even her wedding. Cheesy? Undoubtedly. And if you aren’t a father, I imagine you are snickering at that, but boy did that song really hit me right in the gut today.
After that song she started to request her normal rotation, but the tears didn’t stop flowing for me. It felt good to belt out the lyrics while crying so hard. I was just reveling in the moment. How many more trips like this would I get to make? Singing songs with my daughter while she still enjoys doing things like that with me. Soon she will probably think I’m a nerd, or I’ll embarrass her, or I simply won’t be cool enough. And not long after that she will be in school and our daily ride, if it happens at all, will be much shorter. And not long after that she will be driving herself, and then not coming home at night anymore.
It sure does seem crazy to be this emotional about someone who isn’t even three years old. But goddamnit if there isn’t a tear rolling down my left cheek as I type this. There isn’t any person in my life that makes me feel the things my daughter makes me feel, and before long those feelings will be conjured up more by memories instead of interaction.
I could end this emotional story there and probably a few of you would feel moved and join me in drying off our cheeks. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
My mind drifted rather quickly suicide. I thought about the same things I thought about before, her prom, her going to college, her wedding. But this time I thought about those things if I wasn’t there. How would she be? Where would her mind be? Would she think of me? Would it be purely happy still or scarred in some way? And I think most people would use that as inspiration to stick around. I want to see my daughter experience all of those things. I want to be there while she has the happiest times of her life. I want to watch her face fill with the pure joy that I get to see on her face now whenever the Disney castle pops up before a movie.
But I know that those days probably wouldn’t be scarred, at least for her, if I died before she remembered me. This is a thought that at one point during her life dominated my thinking. I have blogged about it more than once.
Today was different though. I wasn’t thinking about these things as being better for her if I was gone. I was just thinking about how it would be different, how it might affect her. I wasn’t looking at suicide as a way to improve her life. And eventually my mind wandered back to me singing to her as we danced at her wedding, hoping she still loved “It’s Gonna Be Me” as much as she does right now.