Reaching for the ‘new normal’

Dad clip art

The putty knife pings against the siding, peeling off morsels of old paint. It’s a summery sound that reminds me of my dad. This is how he prepped the house for a new coat. I smile. Even if paint doesn’t stick quite as well to a weather-battered cabin as it does to a suburban house, I think: Dad is here, working through my hands.

Dad is missing his 14th Father’s Day. But he’s not missing. He still guides his first-born: Do it the right way now and you won’t have to redo it the right way later. Don’t rush. Stop to drink ice water. Take a nap with the cat.

This is “the new normal.” It’s how we settle after someone we love dies. It never will be normal, though, only new. As Father’s Day approaches, I avoid the ads for tools and men’s clothing, stay out of department stores, won’t even look More