Ode to Dad’s Favorite Shirt

you were a gift from one of us siblings,
I’m not sure which one,
because we all bought him some variation of you over the years –
that’s what happens when a parent says to their kids that they like something once at Christmas

for a long while after,
he wore you all the time,
perhaps it was because you became more comfortable with wear,
but more likely because we couldn’t afford to have too many in the closet,
and he always made himself last in line when there was enough money for buying

many years after he unwrapped you,
he still wore you,
thinning and faded and frayed a little at the collar,
and sometimes I wished and prayed he would please not wear you in front of my friends again,
hoping he would wear one just a little bit newer

maybe I was embarrassed,
but maybe you also reminded me,
when I did not want to be reminded,
that he was growing old

I grew to dislike you then,
but, now, when I close my eyes and think of Dad,
there you are

because of you,
he was easy to find in a crowd if our hands accidentally let loose of one another,
easy to pick out in the bleachers after I hit a double and frantically searched for him,
just to see the smile of pride on his face,
easy to see a few isles down in the grocery store when I’d lingered a little too long in the candy isle,
stopping to count the newspaper delivery quarters I’d stuffed in my pocket

because of you,
I remember his consistency,
his sentimentality,
his humility,
his soft, steady comfort beneath my cheek when I snuggled in

Reformation 

Your love required a cost
I was willing to pay
I spent and I spent
But you still walked away

Didn’t matter that you took me
Or let weekends slip by
Rarely called to check in
Or hugged me when I cried

I wanted a Daddy
Who actually stayed
Who was kind and truly cared
Didn’t throw me away

But you left and stayed gone
With not even a word
As if I had no worth
As if my love was no good

I searched to find you
Tracked you down through my brother
How did he know your whereabouts?
Did you know there was another?

Then you got sicker
Came back to our hometown
Expected me to forget
To always be around

And because of my M
Who’s helped pick up my pieces
Support as I slowly glued
And unfolded the creases

I opened my heart to you
I forgave the undoing
All the forgotten feelings
To see where we were going

Because of this man
Who taught me men who are strong
Hold your hand always
Even when you are wrong

They stay when they love you
They weather the storms
They keep you from tipping
And pick you up when you’re worn

Because of this man
Who protected, kept me safe
I could see it in you, too
The strength and love in your face

And, once again
I let hope overgrow
Was there by your side
Until your last breath did flow

I wouldn’t change that
Even though it broke my heart
I’m glad I began to know you
And we were able to re-start

I miss you 

-image via Pixabay, inspired by the Kelly Clarkson song Piece by Piece