Due to epic Valentine's Failure on the part of the really-doesn't-deserve-to-be called-boyfriend, my Valentine this year was...drumroll, please...My dad.
For those of you country fans, there is a song by the Zac Brown Band called "Highway 20 Ride." If you listen closely, you'll hear that it's a song from his father to his son, talking about the long drive across state lines he took every other Friday to see his son after a divorce.
My favorite verse:
So when you drive
And the years go flying by
I hope you smile
If I ever cross your mind
It was a pleasure of my life
And I cherished every time
And my whole world
It begins and ends with you
On that Highway 20 ride....
And it makes me think about my daddy. I'm his only child, and I do believe, to my very core, his whole world. I've written here many times about the guilt I carry around for not being able to more equally share my childhood and adolescence with him and my mom. But such is life, and we do the best we can.
Before I could drive, my dad would drive from his house to my school one afternoon during the week. He would drive the 30 minutes in rush hour, the 30 minutes back to his house where we'd have dinner, and repeat the process to get me home. Two hours of driving for, all in all, 3.5 hours together. He'd do the same every other weekend. Sure, it wasn't across state lines. I know fathers who fly across the country regularly to see their kids. And not until this song, when it was set to music, did I realize how much those trips, 2 hours by car or 6 hours by plane, meant. I was always grateful to my dad for making the trip, and always acknowledged that it was probably a pain in the ass to drive two hours once or twice a week to pick up a kid who would probably just want to watch TV anyway. My dad once said, after I'd learned to drive and could make the trip alone and remarked on how he did it for so long... "It was my pleasure, kid...I'd do it all again."
Yesterday, on a particularly low Valentine's Day, I had some extra time, and drove up 405 to see my dad. We've had some rough patches in our relationship, mostly because it took me a long time to learn to show him how much I love him, how appreciated he is and the place in my heart he will always occupy. It was a painful struggle but I'm happy to say things are good now. My dad is not just my dad, but my friend, and I don't know if we could be where we are without being where we WERE. He was surprised to see me,yesterday but pulled the card he had gotten me out of his truck anyway. We talked for a bit, he hugged me and told me he loved me, and as I got in my car said, "Thanks for stopping by."
My pleasure, Dad. I'd do it all again.
1 day ago