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Father’s Day on the Border

The boys crawled under the covers and snuggled against me. They were a war of whispers, shushing, and giggles.

“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!” they said.

“I made you a card,” they added.

“Read mine first,” they demanded.

And so I got out of bed.

The cards were handmade on thick staples of school stock, complete with assorted glitters and colorful bits of fluff proclaiming what I had long suspected, I am the best daddy ever. My apologies to those of you that thought otherwise. Hey, second best is pretty cool, too.

It was early and we had a long drive ahead of us.

 

These days I live in the hills of Los Angeles, but I grew up in the desert of Arizona, and my family resides there still. Halfway between us is a town called Blythe, which, with all due respect to those that choose to live there, is not the prettiest place I have ever been. Also, it is hot.

It was to Blythe that we were driving, and one cup of coffee, a tank of gas, four hours, and nearly 40 degrees warmer, we pulled into a little restaurant where my family sat waiting. Their trip was roughly the same, except the thermometer stayed steady.

Seated around a table full of iced tea, chips and salsa were my mother, sister, stepdad, and father. They were laughing and chatting like they hadn’t just spent hours together on lonely stretches of sun-soaked highway.

Everybody hugged everyone, and it was the first Father’s Day I had spent with my dad or my stepfather in many, many years.

We also celebrated my wife’s birthday, as it was right around the corner (it was yesterday, happy birthday, Tricia!) and the table provided a comfort that phone calls never could.

It was a well-rounded Father’s Day, allowing me to play both sides of the card(s), and despite the aesthetics of Blythe I was thankful for its location.

It was getting late and we had a long drive ahead of us.

 

There is a bittersweet mix of longing and freedom in saying goodbye to your children. They, in turn, felt a mix of sadness and excitement. They balanced goodbyes with the spoils of summer (where the spoils come from a carload of grandparents).

We snuggled with whispers of shushing and giggles.

“Happy Father’s Day, Daddy!” they said.

“I love you,” I answered.

Then my boys drove away with my mother, sister, stepdad, and father, and we went west, where the weather was cooler and our days all the quieter.

 

Whit Honea can be found writing about whatever he feels like at his personal site Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony) and DadCentric. If you’re really bored you can follow him on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).

Also from Whit:

Brave: Boys, Bows, and Bears

Babes in Cars Land

Taking a Lemonade Stand Against Childhood Cancer

An Award by Any Other Name

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