Merry Christmas Dad


Dear Dad,

     It’s been six years since I last hugged you. Since I felt the smoosh of your lips against my cheek and heard your voice expressing your so-obvious love for me. 

Six years of life on this earth without your presence. 

Six years of life without you here. 

Six years of missing you, thinking about you, keeping you alive in my thoughts and memory through shared stories and re-lived moments of family joy.

     Your images are still shared. Videos of you delighting children with your famous duck voice, just as you did me. The sound of Donald Duck fills the air and I am 6 years old again. Reveling in the secret knowledge that my dad is the real Donald Duck and no-one can convince me otherwise.

     Videos of your amazing dance moves and epic sound tracks. 70’s disco hands fly in time to the beat of whatever oldie is playing and Cha-Cha moves erupt whenever Spanish guitars and “BAAAMMBALEEEOOO” are heard. I have no idea what the words mean but the “Gypsy Kings” always translated to dance party in our home.

  So many memories. So many years with you as my Dad. The one who taught me how to play catch, wrestle till I win and never give up. You’re the dad who never wasted an opportunity to tell me how beautiful I am. The dad who was always thinking of me and mom. Heading to the local gun show and somehow returning with necklaces but then still setting up a Daddy Daughter day to the gun range next.

  You’re the reason I hated cooking and now love it. Always wanting me in the kitchen more than my stubborn young self ever wanted. Now, it is a place I love. Every tear from each time my knife settles on an onion or fresh garlic I think of you. When I taste my creation and throw that extra dash of salt I see your smiling face. So proud that I finally embraced our Italian foundations. 

     Embraced that family connections are the ones that happen best around meals. The time where we sit together. Be together. All partaking in the most mundane necessity of the day. Eating. 

     When the food is made with love. When the process is done with care. When the table is set and the home is, for the first time of the day, together and still. This is where the connection happens. It is the dinner table that always holds space for the family. 

    Open views to the faces of those who love you most.

I feel the delight of you, (and Nani & Papa) whenever I sit around this table. I feel your pride at a well cooked family dish. I sense Papa’s delight that I mastered his favorite food and can almost feel Nani’s joy that I have taken every lesson she gave to heart. 

    The Italian way, an active sharing of delicious meals with those you love, has rooted itself into the foundations of my soul. Indeed it’s almost a fear that I will somehow run out of food for someone (A fear I know I got from you).

   Our table is set, not formally, most days at the kitchen bar. But the plates are full of thoughtful meals. The glasses filled with bubbly water and napkins ready to swipe away any mess. 

  Reaching out I grab the hand of my chosen family. One I know you whole heartedly approved of. What a gift, this meal with him. 

Time for one more bite. 

Time to taste and experience this world.

     How I ache to sit with you again Dad. Taste one more Italian creation and talk through the day’s monotonous happenings. To share bread with you, bread dipped in the fresh juice of tomatoes from the garden. Sample fine wines and enjoy the lavish delights of this world.

My mind simply cannot fathom what that day will be like. When we are together again, before our heavenly Father, before our King. 

     What a story you have started Dad. One of timeless adventure and endless exploration. A painless, tearless existence.  Life as we long for, what our hearts and minds were built for. Life in the presence of the One who is wholly Good and completely Holy. 

The answers to all your questions and fulfillment of every promise before you. 

There is a place where the saints of past gather. Where they cheer for the “not there yet” ones. Us, earthy home dwellers, earth stewards. I imagine your voice is loudest. It always was. I can see your arms wave with frantic Dad energy at the race we are still running.

“It is so worth it Micky, all of it.”

It is worth the struggles. 

The pain. 

The questions and trials. 

The doubts and mystery. 

All of the valleys and mountains along the way. The dark places and highlights of life, all culminate in the best possible ending. This must be why they cheer. 

The existence they are experiencing, the ultimate reality of our every dream and desire. There is only one God who secures this place of never-ending joy and I know you, dad, are before Him.

I know in part what you are awash in.

I taste a sample of the full meal you are devouring.

Thank you for running your race so well Dad. For showing me what it looks like to live with the reality that Death is not the end. What it is like to face death with peace. Fearless and brave because of the One who went before you. Because He is so very real, and His victory has been made so very real in your life that death no longer stings. 

This Christmas and every Christmas I think of you, I will make Christmas cookies (Nani’s recipes of course), I will cook a feast and I will celebrate the birth of our King. I will smile with every bite as I imagine the Christmas celebration you are dancing at and I will offer heartfelt thanks to our Lord for the best Christmas gift every given. 

Merry Christmas Dad,


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