Eight years. It's been eight years since I talked to my dad. Eight years since I heard him tell me he loves me. Eight years since I've hugged him. Eight years since he said something that made me roll my eyes. Eight years since he butt dialed me while driving around and left me a 20 minute voicemail of car noises and NPR. Eight years since he called me to see how far out we were on a trip to Abilene from Carrollton (he always managed to call us when we were along the same stretch of highway, like he just couldn't wait any longer). Eight years since I bought his last birthday card that I never got to send. Eight years since anyone asked him how he was and got the response "Better than I deserve."
In those eight years I've missed him tremendously. I've missed him when I moved. I've missed him when I was sick. I've missed him when I was pregnant and birthing babies. I've missed him when I needed help. I've missed him when I've eaten chocolate ice cream. I've missed him when I drive past McDonald's. I've missed him when I see the constellation Orion. I've missed him every time I've seen an elephant or an owl. I've missed him when I've wrapped up in the last Christmas gift he gave me, a woven blanket usually on the back of my red chair.
I miss him in the big moments and in the small ones, like hearing Rebekah laugh for the first time, or Elijah reading a word seemingly out of nowhere to ask what it means. I really missed him with all of Eden's medical stuff.
Here's two secrets in relation to Dad that I don't tell people often:
1. I know most babies do it, but whenever my babies stare at seemingly nothing and grin, especially when they're little, I pretend it's Dad making faces at them. It makes me feel a little better about him missing out on their lives.
2. Rebekah's middle name, Joy, is in his honor. He named me Joy, and she's named after me AND him.
Eight years down and (hopefully) fifty to go.