Today, December 24th, is my Father's birthday. He died in the spring of 2008, so this is the second one I have spent without him. My parents got divorced during my senior year of college, after my sister had already married. My sister spent Christmas Eve with her in-laws so usually it was just my mother, father, and I to celebrate on his birthday. We usually went out to dinner and then to a movie. It was pretty much the only time I went to the movies with my family. After the divorce, my father and I kept the tradition going. Our first solo birthday celebration I decided to cook. I had never really cooked a big meal for anyone before and I went all out. I made a cheese and fruit plate for him to snack on while I was cooking. Then an appetizer of seared scallops. Followed by a main entree of ahi tuna, mushroom risotto, and roasted brussel sprouts. For dessert, I simply served the best chocolate I could find with fresh berries (he loved his chocolate). I remember this meal so vividly because when sorting through his belongings I found a picture of my meal, and I was so touched by that.
Both this year and last, I chose not to go home to Cincinnati to be with the rest of my family for Christmas Eve. It just doesn't feel right to me. I don't want to spend my father's birthday with anyone else but him and I feel that being out in nature is the best way to do that. Today, I started my day with an intense heated yoga class. I returned home to shower and make a green shake and then headed to the water. It was gorgeous in San Diego today. I parked on the side of the road, kicked of my shoes, and grabbed my ipod. I switched it on to a playlist I had made to honor my dad and started down the path to the sand.
I took my time, pausing to watch the surfers, to stretch, to just be. Now and then tears would start to flow but I didn't feel sad. I wasn't choosing to be alone because I wanted to seep in my sorrow. I wasn't depressed. I wanted to be alone so that I could purposely pay attention to his spirit that surrounds me. Little memories that I had long forgotten came up all day long and they each made me so much more grateful for the father I got to have. For the father I get to have. I know he is always with me. I know that I am protected, but of course I miss him beyond belief.