He arrives home from work still wearing his grease covered uniform, having completed yet another long day working underneath a tractor trailer. He isn’t smiling, but I know that’s from the fatigue. He works so hard to take care of Precious and me. We both greet him as he heads to the dining room table to sit and take off his heavy leather boots.
Precious gets the first hug as I hover about, waiting for my turn. I no longer look away as they kiss, long since having stopped being embarrassed by their affection. They love each other. After nearly eighteen years of marriage, they still love each other. There’s nothing for me to be embarrassed of. I’m blessed to have parents like them. Goodness knows how many others don’t have that.
I have my chance now to slip in. He’s finished taking off his boots and Precious has taken her spot leaning against one of the dining room chairs, so I walk up to him and wrap my arms around him as far as they’ll go. Our dining room chairs are just the perfect height for my hugging him; I can comfortably lean my head on his shoulder here, where my hugging him when he’s standing usually results in my thudding my forehead into his sternum. I don’t mind it, but he finds it uncomfortable, quite understandably. I have a hard head.
“Hi, Daddy,” I whisper.
“Hey, Sweetie,” he replies as his arms circle around me.
I close my eyes and stay there as long as I can, soaking in his warmth. He’s sweaty and grimy from work, but I don’t mind. It’s part of his hugs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all these years, the smell of oil and fuel have become part of life. They carry with them a sense of warmth and security and home.
Safety is a familiar feeling to me, something I’ve felt in plenty of settings, but here is where the feeling is the strongest. With Daddy, who knows me better than nearly anyone else. Some of my fondest memories are of my times with him. Hours of talking, sitting in Starbucks, on the way home from church, staying up late to work something out in my head when I just can’t work it out myself.
Of course, after only a few seconds pass, I have to let go. There’s still more stuff that needs to be done tonight. Dinner, family time, introverted time. But that feeling of security, follow me around tonight. Somehow Daddy just makes everything a little better, and that includes the evenings, when we’re all together, even if we’re all on our separate electronic devices.
Daddy is home.
Happy Father’s Day, to both my Daddy and any fathers that might be reading this.