I am my father’s daughter. We have similar dimples when we smile, a passion in the kitchen, a love for USA Network television, the same short, chubby hands, and the same eyes. Out of all the similarities between my father and I though, I am most proud to have my father’s eyes.
My Pops is a realist, but he sees more than just what is physically in front of him. A man of few words, he patiently takes it all in, listening with his ears and his eyes, providing perspective and wisdom when you need it most. And sometimes…even when you don’t need it…or when you don’t want to be seen at all…he’s there.
When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who cheated on me. I walked away tall and strong, keeping busy and extra social. I listened to Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” every morning on my drive to school. (Cliche, I know–but hey, I was 16.) Each day I walked the halls with confidence (in a few more short skirts ;D) and wanted to show everyone that we may have broken up, but I was not broken–that I refused to be hurt by some guy. But the truth is–it did hurt. Being busy and strong hurt like hell…especially when your 16. And every day after school, practice, or being out with friends, I would walk into my house, waiting for the front door to shut behind me. When I thought no one was around, I would let out a deep, quivering breath. A breath that I had been holding in all day–a breath that somehow gave me strength and courage…but a breath that hurt and shook me to my core. No one saw this–except for my Pops. He saw it everyday for probably a month. And everyday, for probably a month, he waited for that door to close behind me. “You ok?” he would ask. I would hesitate and begin nodding my head up and down. His arms would open. Everyday, for probably a month, I would say,“I’m ok”…but in that broken exhale, he saw me and every broken piece of my young heart.
His eyes. My eyes. With no words–he saw me.
I don’t think we ever really talked about those days…and I’m not sure we ever really need to. But someday, I hope my Pops can see what I see. I hope he can see how I’ve watched and learned from his work ethic, his dedication to providing for his family, his loyalty to his very best friends, his respect and love for my mother, his resourcefulness and creativity–in the kitchen and in life(!), his independence. I hope he can see how I love him for his quiet, yet perceptive demeanor, his thirst for knowledge (and ability to tell you random facts or life hacks that you will never forget), how he listens, and how he laughs.
They used to tell me that I was just a “twinkle in my father’s eye.” And as years passed, I then became “the apple of [his] eye.”…but the truth is, I am the one who cherishes him…and these special eyes he’s passed onto me.
Happy Father’s Day, Pops!