I visited my dad along with his girlfriend and Brian.
Carlo took JD fishing and out for a hot dog.
Then I slept over at Carlo Jr.’s beach condo.
It was a weird Father’s Day because I couldn’t be with my dad. But I also couldn’t wallow over it, or the circumstances that produced such the day.
See, I’m a dad too.
I’m a 24/7 mom and dad who doesn’t get to cry or freak out when everything around her is crazy. I need to keep calm, carry on, care for my kid, work, eat, sleep, advocate. Maintain.
JD woke up before 6 AM and jumped on me. “Happy Father’s Day to my mommy!”
We took Max for a long walk, smelling the salty air and feeling sporadic drops of rain, fall from the sky that felt like tear drops on my shoulders. We stood in front of an old yellow church with stained-glass windows and a giant cross.
JD played in the park on the boardwalk before the family went to lunch at Klein’s. We sat out on the deck and watched boats cruise back and forth. JD spent most of lunch hanging over the deck in awe.
I wasn’t hungry, but ate my sushi, popped edamame out of the pods, cut up JD’s chicken, smiled and colored with my child. I sipped a diet coke the whole time, declining a spirit.
After lunch, the family went back to Uncle Carlo’s and I took JD on a solo mini golf mission.
The place was crowded with dads.
One group: A dad, his two daughters and their boyfriends.
Another group: A dad who brushed his golf club against my a*s by accident and apologized, his wife (who said she felt sorry for me that her husband did that) and two kids under 10.
Another group: Two older parents and a young college-aged son. He took that picture of JD and me. And I took a pic of their trio.
There, in the middle of the lines of people waiting to take their turns at scoring a hole in one with a neon golf ball and fountains springing with water, was a mom and her son.
I helped JD make his mark and aim.
In the near distance waves crashed on the shore and the warm sun set upon our faces …
And for whatever reason, I felt like JD and I were exactly where we needed to be.
And I understood, even more, the absence of a father. The impact, pain, sadness, confusion, fear, forgiveness and love. The promise of a new day. Another chance.
This morning at work, a coworker asked if I was OK. I looked sad.
“I’m OK,” I said, racking jeans for an upcoming photo shoot. Hidden away in the closet, with JD far away at school, I got to be sad. I got to be a woman with weight on her shoulders.