Most days are pretty easy. Today was not.
This morning, he entered through the door and J screamed, “Dad!” as if he hadn’t seen him in ages. J idolizes him. He cut our hair and ate breakfast with us before he went to work.
Every time J looks at that walking wall of a man, his chest puffs up to adult-size and he does the typical head nod, man-to-man hello, but then he always surrenders to the little boy inside and hugs his dad like he is gold.
Later this evening when I was making that jinx of a dinner — hot dogs and mac-n-cheese — Donnie McClurkin’s voice reverberated from the walls. J came into the kitchen, wrapped his arms around me and tucked his face into my chest. We swayed to the music as our feet waded in tears.
The timer for the noodles interrupted our puddle dance but not our special moment. As I prepped our plates, he’d gone to wash his hands and returned to the kitchen, wearing the soft computer case on his head like a pirate hat. Little boy J was still present. I’ve learned to take advantage of these moments, so as he balanced his plate and squatted to sit on the floor for our picnic, I pulled a medium-size Tupperware bowl from the cupboard and positioned it like a helmet on my head. When he looked up and saw it, he didn’t say a word. He just grinned and dropped his eyes to his mac-n-cheese.
After dinner, we watched home videos from when he was a baby. And everything was OK again. For now.
“Mom, I had a pretty great day today. Yep, I did.”
I said it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t say it wasn’t great.
*Please see below for the note J wrote to his dad inside his Father’s Day card.
You are an amazing special feature in my life. Every morning I wake up with the great things you do for me on my mind. You are my dad, I am your son. I’m very proud about that. Anthony Dixon, amazing football coach, chef, security guard, and father to your children. I love you, and I think God took extra time to create your loving soul.