Back when I was a kid, I remember my dad always being gone all day on Christmas eve. I asked my mother once why is was gone and she said he was out shopping. My dad would apparently wait until Christmas eve to shop for my mother or what other gifts he was buying. Now whether my mother was a snooper or my dad was just a procrastinator, I don't really know. But this day always reminds me of my father!
My dad has been gone for 13 years now, but I miss him like he just passed away. I know my mother moved on, got remarried. My dad didn't die on Christmas eve, he passed in May. But Christmas eve always brings me back to my dad. I adored my father, like I'm sure most little girls do. He was my hero literally and figuratively.
Once when I was little, I remember a bat flying in my window at night and I screamed until my dad (who had trouble walking) ran into my room. I had the covers thrown up over my head and my dad asked why I was screaming. When I explained there was something in my room (at that point I didn't know what it was) and pointed in the direction it flew. My dad didn't take it lightly. He didn't make fun of me or think I was being foolish. He found the bat and said it was just a baby. No bigger than his thumb and he let him back out the window. I still had the covers over my head when my dad came over and pulled them down.
I don't remember my dad being overly compassionate, I don't remember my dad being the one who punished me when I was bad. I do remember once him threatening me with his belt. But I was my daddy's little girl and I don't think he could have ever laid a hand on me. I think he realized how hard my mother was with me, and to make up for it, I could do no wrong with him. My brother and I were pushing a big box down our stairs when we got the idea we could ride in it. Well Charlie got in and I pushed him down and Charlie almost went through the floorboards (it was a very old house ridden with termites - we later found out). My dad was livid. He made Charlie stand in the corner even though Charlie explained that I pushed him. Dad just said, well I guess you shouldn't have got in that box in the first place.
It occured to me after he died that I really didn't know my dad. I had heard so many stories at the viewing and funeral about my dad. I think most people loved him. He would help anyone out that needed it. I'm sure he would have given the shirt off his back for someone. But I never really got to know him. I know he loved me. I know he loved me alot.
I also think he knew that he was dying. Or going to die soon, because once a few months before he died he made me sit on his lap like I used to do when I was a little girl. And I said dad, I'm going to hurt you (because, I was eight months pregnant and he had already had three mini strokes and a broken hip) and he said I could never hurt him. He told me that he loved me. He said that he didn't really like Rich (only teasing me) but he thought Rich was a good man and that he would take good care of me.
Shortly after that I had Anthony. While I was in the hospital (this was in March), my dad stopped by everyday on his way home from work to visit with me. He would stay for a few mintues or a few hours, but he stopped everyday. My dad died in May that same year. When his friend's wife called me, I knew why she was calling. I even said, my dad's dead isn't he. I don't know why I felt that way, I've done that with a few other people I was close to. But I knew.
Now as a parent, I hardly ever get the chance to just sit and think about my dad. And Christmas eve is generally so busy that it's hard to remember things. Especially when you are running around at the last minute trying to get everything done. But sometimes, like today while you are running around, you remember that your dad was always running around too. Maybe he's running right beside me, helping me remember everything I need to do. I'd like to think so.