Today is my birthday. Normally, I’m bursting with excitement for a new year filled with challenge and adventure. This year is different. As always, I let everyone know what I expect: love notes from all the boys, a poster framed, the broken zippers replaced on my favorite winter boots. Things I never get around to, and don‘t feel like dealing with.
Today is my first birthday without my dad.
Every year he would call me at 3:26 to send his love and let me know that the moment I was born was the highlight of his life. On March 30, 2016 as 3:26pm Israel local time (5:26am PST) he wrote me this:
“I love you, and we always will be connected in the spirit that transcends time and space.”
And two weeks later, on April 15th, he dropped dead. Just like that.
So now I’m sitting here in Tel Aviv on the boardwalk, listening to the waves, and trying to figure out if we are still connected. 3:26 came and went. No call. He hasn’t appeared in any form recognizable to me. Time and space is what I know, and I’m wondering if I could figure out how to transcend it, whether we would be able to communicate. Unclear.
Today feels like a pretty normal day otherwise. Not my usual birthday ecstasy. A little work. A kid home sick. Food to prepare. A two–hour drive with three teenage boys to baseball tryouts. 40 minutes of looking for a parking place in Tel Aviv, ending in my driving onto the sidewalk, turning off the ignition, and feeling 100% ok about paying a ticket if need be. I had to get to the sea.
The waves speak a language that calms me and feels a part of me, but I actually have no idea what they’re saying. They’re mesmerizing but also loud and in the way. They’re supportive, but you turn your back and they’re aggressive and dangerous.
Maybe I feel a bit like my dad right now. Lots of thoughts inside. Tons of ideas. But not sure that anyone else really gets me. It’s lonely, but also kind of nice.
I could sit here forever on my own – if I didn’t have to go get my car (hopefully), and grab those boys again. Two hours now the other way – this time headed north.
I think I’ll try again tomorrow.