Each month, we bring a piece that we've written based on a prompt given to us at the previous meeting. But before we read those aloud, we are given a new prompt at the start of the meeting and we write for about 20 minutes. Then, if we choose, we share what we've written. Last night the prompt was a very general "gifts." That could mean a favorite or least favorite gift we've received or given. It could be a card or letter. It could be a birthday or Christmas or any other occasion. Whatever we thought of, we had twenty minutes to write. It took me a few minutes to get started, but here's what I came up with in the end.
It was 1988, my freshman year of college. I was at Ricks, a junior college in Idaho about 4 hours from my Utah home. I was still homesick when my 18th birthday rolled around just a few weeks after the start of the semester, so I was excited when a postcard arrived from my dad. I went to my room to read his note.
"Dear Missy, Happy Birthday to you. ... Hope you have a great day, weekend, year, life, etc. I love you. Love, Dad"
As silly as it sounds, I sat down on my bed and cried. My dad had just told me to have a nice life. It sounded so...final.
I've always been a daddy's girl, and his card reminded me that I was far from home, but I knew that my dad simply wanted me to be happy, not only on my birthday but always.
I still have that postcard, but I no longer have my dad. It's okay. Throughout my life he always made it clear that he wants the best for me.
He wants me to have a nice life.