My sister, Veronica, recently sent me this photo of my father's final resting place in a Detroit cemetery. I'm in Arizona, but she knew I would want to see the headstone that was finally put in place.
It's been two years, but his number is still in my cell phone with that none-too impressive ID photo I snapped with my then-crappy cell phone camera. I see it every time I scroll through my contacts. Sometimes I scroll with no intention of making a phone call.
We all did it. The five of us girls. New phones have been upgraded to since then, but without a word shared between us, we eventually learned that each and every one of us had manually added "Dad" and his old phone number to our new lists. Call it a tribute. Call it "Easier to old on." Or just call it "Impossible to erase from our lives."
It's all true.
I hated him when I was a teenager with a head full or hormones. I hated that my social status was defined by the mere fact that every person I knew was afraid of my father and knew that Pauline wasn't allowed to go to parties, dates, or breathe without the OK from the man whom I still think of as larger than life. Even if he did only stand 5'6''.
But I was supposed to hate him, right? And I was supposed to move beyond all of that (and that laughable curfew I had at 21) to focus on what I realized when I finally "grew up," right?
Family means everything but water is sometimes more powerful than blood. Respect is a two way street and is easier demanded than given. Elders are always always to be treated with respect, even if they are idiot asshats. Dad is law and God understands. And I want my daughter to hate me just as much as I hated him when she becomes a teenager. If that happens, I'll know I've done my job and raised her right.