Every time the girls ask me to make pancakes, I smile and point them towards Marcus. “Daddy does the pancakes!” It’s become so engrained in them now that they’ve started repeating my lines before I do, “Mommy can’t do pancakes! Mommy burns pancakes.” I’d smile if the truth wasn’t so very, very sad.
In fact, I know the way to make a perfect pancake. I remember many, many a weekend morning at my grandparents’ house with pecan twirls in the freezer and my grandfather detailing the perfect way to make a pancake. How wet the batter needed to be. How hot the griddle should be when you flick the water on it. How many seconds between bubble pops and flips. The perfect pancake.
Every time I make a pancake, I think of my Poppy. We lost him in 2012. He didn’t die, though we’d spent the better part of a year worried that the leukemia would take him. Instead, we found out that, after forty years with my Nanee, he wasn’t a very good man. And he’s gone now. There’s so much to the story–but it isn’t mine to tell, and though fancy myself a storyteller, I wouldn’t tell it even if I could. Or I couldn’t tell it even if I should. I’m not sure.
But the point is, he’s gone. And I’ve spent the better part of two years trying to figure out how to make peace with images of the man that taught me to make the perfect pancake and the man that he turned out to be. And it makes me sad every time I think about it. About him.
I shouldn’t feel sad. It’s Father’s Day (well, it was when I started writing this and pondered whether or not I really wanted to put it all “out there”) and I’m blessed with a wonderful father. I’ve got an amazing husband, who’s the perfect father to my three daughters. I’ve got uncles and brothers-in-law and godfathers and my granddaddy in heaven watching over me. My life is filled with blessings.
But maybe one day, I’ll be able to show the girls how to make the perfect pancake without feeling like I might cry.