This is how it happens now in fly by trips and weeks at at a time, the crock pot bubbling with Christmas eve chili and him napping upstairs right above me as I nap also in my childhood bedroom.
This is how it happens still calling him when I’m in a late night wreck because he’s just up around the corner like he always has been and I’m just here on the side of the road and I bet he has a tow strap.
Only weeks at a time now it happens that I get to watch and learn and listen to my dad, to imbibe his readiness and his anxiety and most obviously his love.
One week or two standing in the slow motion transfer of manhood letting myself be his boy for reasons beyond grace and manners alone.
And this is how it happens three and four months gone the lines in his face sinking deeper new veins and the same bad habits still hurting us both in the same different ways.
Six months between hugs and the faraway look from the brown recliner cocktail in hand as he reckons with how quick it goes and how good it’s been.
It happens like this dying to each other standing in the mighty river one baton racer beginning to trot as the other sprints toward an outstretched hand and breathlessly reaches out urging their teammate on.
Now I know why my Christmas presents were toolboxes and jumper cables and why he always still invites me to go to the hardware store. I finally understand something seeing new gray hairs in my head and the nagging certainty of arthritic beginnings about what he’s doing and why.
All the moments and all the conversations that seemed so boring annoying unendurable live in me now like treasure, clutched in my callused palm my most prized gifts.
It happens just like this washing away in life - the joy of becoming myself and the grief of what it means.
The little moments
the holiday chance to remember -
it all goes.