I used to abhor mornings.  I'd sign up for the late shift at work and feel accomplished when I slept past noon.  I'd stay up and out late and repeat the process.  Mornings were for school, and school's out.  Even when I worked 8-5 at my old job I despised getting up and about that early.  When I traveled, I found that my internal clock changed.  When I got home, I tried to get back to a lazy bones schedule but my body wouldn't have it.

I've been on a late shift (2-11) since December and will most likely be on it for awhile longer.  I've slowly been slipping into a later and later sleep schedule.  Last week, I decided I would start running a few mornings a week and get into better shape.  I have been getting up at 7:00 every other day or so to get out and beat the heat.  I always tell myself I'm going to go home and go back to sleep, but that never works.  When I sit and look at myself, I see that I really enjoy having my whole morning.  My days feel fuller.

If I think about it long enough, mornings remind me of Dad.  He would take me to school some mornings and we'd always stop for breakfast.  I'd go to the office with him occasionally on Saturdays and wander the halls of Horner Foods while he worked on price books.  Maybe we'd go check a few stores.  Early mornings remind me of Disney World and getting to the park at opening.  I remember fixing Dad a tall glass of Diet Coke and a cup of coffee while he was in the shower.  I remember getting up to the smell of my favorite meal and helping Dad scramble the eggs.  I laugh as I write this as I remember his insane energy in the mornings while I would grumble.  We called it Narca-wakey; the affliction of being suddenly totally awake.  That laughter hitches when I realize those memories are all I have now.  I suppose that's all we have anyway.  That's how life works.

I get a strange pleasure out of sitting in my house (or on my porch, should the weather not be molten outside) with a cup of coffee and knowing the world is spinning up.  It's not hurried yet.  It's not stressful yet.  The day is new and there are no expectations.  By the time I go into the office, I've lived a whole day.  Work's just a piece of the larger picture, not the overwhelming task.


Six Months Later

I went to work yesterday like normal.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It's been dreadfully hot in the heartland and I've had a real focus on getting from air-conditioned-place to air-conditioned-place as quickly as possible.  I got to work, booted up my computer, and looked over at a picture on my desk.  Since Christmas, I've had a picture of my family right next to my desk phone.  It's probably my favorite picture of the four of us together.  For no real reason that I was aware of, the picture of my father made me tear up and I had to quickly busy myself with work stuff.  I told a friend of mine about it and she asked if any important dates were coming up.  After thinking for a minute, I realized that today, July 18th, marks six months since The Call.

As I've mentioned before, it simultaneously feels like it's been years and like this all happened yesterday.  I've also noticed that Dad's voice in my head is now at a lower volume than it used to be.  I know the day will come eventually when I will have to struggle to truly hear him.  It breaks my heart, but that's life.  About a week ago, I took his picture down from the shelf and cried while holding it.  I thought that only happened in the movies.  Guess not.  Aside from that moment, it's been a good month since I've had any kind of emotional breakdown over this.  I've been more focused on finalizing my divorce.

Dad's contact is still in my phone.  Every time I scroll by it, I think about removing it...and decide not to.  It's not like I need the space in my phone.  And there's a tiny bit of comfort having it in there; I remember when I could call him and it reminds me to still talk to him.  I just don't have to press 'Talk' anymore.  I still think about him all the time.  It's almost annoying.  I relive the same memories over and over again.  I remember how sad he was the last few years of his life.  I don't feel regret.  Just sadness.

I finally ordered a custom plate for Dad's Mustang.  I've wanted to for as long as I've had it.  I thought about a lot of things, and finally settled on something that meant a lot to both of us.  Dad's favorite actor was John Wayne.  When I was little, I'd watch movies with him all the time...but I couldn't pronounce John Wayne.  The closest I got was 'jah vee, daddy!'  So that's what I got.  Jah Vee.  People will ask and it will give me the opportunity to share.

Miss you Dad.  I know it'll be okay.  I just wish it was already.