for as long as i can remember, my father has said this to me… when he was putting me to bed, when he was saying good-bye, or sometimes just because he was passing by. i always imagined a vast, navy blue sky sparkling with stars reaching down to a deep purple ocean filled with colorful, friendly fish. (somehow even after i saw jaws WAY too young, that imagery never penetrated this phrase.) the enormity of all of that love surrounding me and protecting me made feel so safe, like i moved through the world in my own special cocoon. so on the tougher days like when i wasn’t invited to the sleepover or i got a really bad hair cut (fall of 8th grade and again in 10th) or some boy didn’t like me back or we didn’t win the spirit cup senior year like EVERY other class or i didn’t get into the college i wanted (my father actually called some schools and asked for my hand printed applications back) or i didn’t get the job i interviewed for (i am colossally poor in job interviews) or the boyfriend whose eyes are too close together cheated on me (i should have known when my father pointed out his flawed eye configuration) or i forgot to put the parking brake on and my big, two-ton sedan rolled down a hill right into the side of another car whose owner was at the same party i was going to or i got laid off or i couldn’t get pregnant or i had to move from amsterdam to a hot, dusty mountain town or my marriage fell apart or i missed my children so much i remained paralyzed on the sofa binge watching "girlfriend’s guide to divorce” and eating pirate booty until the roof of my mouth was shredded or even last week when i couldn’t remember where i parked after a lunch date and looked for my car (with my date) for FORTY-FIVE minutes in unbelievable heat only to find it right in front of the restaurant (i know - it’s amazing - i did NOT hear from him again!) … on all of those days, and every other, i knew my father loved me. that’s no small thing.
when i finally did get pregnant, i started thinking about how i could pass that security onto my babies. i would try to imagine something as immense as the sky and as enormous as the ocean so i could craft my own love cocoon for my children. and then i realized i didn’t need to… i just needed to wrap them up in my father’s words, “i love you higher than the sky is high and deeper than the ocean is deep.” so that’s what i say to them when i am putting them to bed or saying good-bye or hearing about a rough day or sometimes just because i am passing by. and now they say it back to me. and sometimes they even say it to each other. so THANK YOU dad. thank you for making sure that deep in my core i knew i was loved. thank you for taking such good care of me and my children. thank you for being the wonderful father and grandfather that you are. i love you higher than the sky is high and deeper than the ocean is deep. happy, happy father’s day.