The first time I learned you had scoliosis was on the day of your funeral.
You had a partial spinal fusion and a rod placed in your back your junior year of high school,
And you wore a full body cast for at least a semester.
When you could no longer play baseball because of your surgery,
You asked the coach if you could be his assistant so you could still be a part of the team.
And you did.
How did I never bother to ask?
From the number of piggy back rides
To the number of times you hoisted me on your shoulders,
How did I never notice a scar or a bar supporting your spine?
There are so many things I would ask you if I had a little more time.
If I had five more minutes, I would ask if your body cast itched and how you bathed.
I would ask the name of your first grade teacher
And what street the school bus picked you up on.
I would ask the name of the boy your age who lived next door
And what your favorite game was to play together.
I would ask what you dreamed about when you were a boy,
and giggle with you about how my first dream job was to be a princess.
I would ask you the name of your first kiss, (but not in front of mom)
and if you got butterflies when you’d see her in the hallway.
I would ask about your first car,
and if it was as well loved as your old dodge ram truck you drove me to school in.
I would ask if you danced on your mom’s toes in the kitchen when you were little,
just like I danced on yours.
Daddy, I would ask you all the “nothing” questions.
The ones that don’t seem to matter at first glance.
But when you string them together, it makes a life.
I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to ask you those questions.
I’m sorry that the picture of how I knew you was mainly contained in the 20 years of you being my dad,
And hardly in the former years and experiences that made you the man in front of me.
I’m sorry that your role as a dad overshadowed in my mind all of your other important roles.
You were a chemist and a diver,
A golfer and a writer,
A teacher and a learner,
A rock enthusiast and cross word puzzle solver.
You were a boy, and a teen, and a twenty something.
You were so much more than I ever knew.
I’ll spend the rest of my days filling in the pieces.
If I could grab your hand one last time,
I would tell you to start from the beginning.
Please just give me five more minutes.
I’m not finished.