My dad's a person with catchphrases. Like a character in a book or in a movie, he's lovable for being predictable, and more often than not, you know what he'll say before he says it.
Whenever I leave the house, he tells me, "Be smart! Make good choices!" Whenever he watched me play sports, he'd pace the sidelines and shout, "Anticipate!" If it's sunny outside, he says, "Life's good," and if I look worried, he says, "Don't sweat it," and if anyone ticks him off, he'll drop an f-bomb and offer a reminder: "Never forget how stupid people can be, Marie."
"Who loves you?" That's what he says with a wink and a tilt of his head whenever he does something sweet. And each time we talk on the phone, just before he hangs up, his voice goes from sarcastic to sincere as he says, "Take care, kid." That's why I save his voicemails; I want to be able to hear those three words whenever I need to.
My dad's words. When I think of him, the words are what come to mind first. He's a talker, the reason I'm such a chatterbox, and although I'm grateful for a whole lot of what he's given me, it's his words that I appreciate most. They're there when he isn't — a gift even when he's miles away.
Photo by Cooper Carras