So, I was only going post a poem a wrote for my dad on this post, however, while writing the opening for it, my memories got the best of me. I kept wondering why I felt the need to write a poem? And then it clicked. My dad loved writing poems, little rhyming verses, etc., for us growing up for special occasions. That then lead me to reminisce on some birthdays my sister and I had. Welcome to how my mind works.
Growing up my Dad and Mom loved to make a big deal about our birthdays and accomplishments. It was never just a, “happy birthday” or “congratulations” and that was it. They both made it something special. In the Volk household, there was the infamous “Birthday Week” that is celebrated by family. The rules are as follows; you decide when your birthday week starts, and it lasts for exactly 1 week. Also, if anyone is mean to you, your birthday week automatically starts over. It is amazing, only if it is your birthday though, quite annoying if not. You better believe that my dad milked it for all it’s worth. Some years it turned out he wanted a “Birthday Month” not a “Birthday Week”.
My sister had it made with her birthday in summer. She was able to have pool parties, playing outside, and good weather. I specifically remember for her 13th birthday she had a “club” birthday party. Everyone invited over was out back on our patio dancing. My dad sat at the window inside being the “DJ” and took requests through the window. Now the requests were made via a piece of paper placed into a tissue box. And if we happened to have the tape or CD, he would play it. I specifically remember our neighbor requesting a song called “Macarena”, nobody knew what it is was, and that’s how long ago this was (sorry Megan).
My birthday falls exactly 2 weeks after Christmas, January 8th. Yes, also Elvis Presley’s birthday. My parties were limited in January since we lived in Maryland. I specifically remember my 9th birthday and the slogan my dad came up with for the invitations. I was going to have a slumber party, but not just a regular slumber party, we were going to make it like we were camping. My parent’s stapled sheets to the door frame so it was like our living room was a giant tent. We were also going to be roasting marshmallows in my fireplace. My parents had to get creative for the dreary winter birthdays. Anyway, the slogan I will remember forever, don’t ask me why, other than I thought I was cooler than cool with it, was, “Come Smell the Pine! Abby’s Turning Nine!” (get it, camping?). That was trademarked by my dad!
Now onto how much my dad loved to embarrass us. The back of our house in Hagerstown backed up to a busy road, Marsh Pike. For my sister’s and my 16th birthday, my parents hung a giant and I mean GIANT sign that said, “Megan’s sweet sixteen!” Or in my case “Abby’s sweet sixteen!”. Everyone in our town driving by would be able to see it. People in my school would talk about it and people would beep all the time. I loved it, especially because when they hung it up for Megan only because she was so embarrassed (that’s sisterly love for you).
For special occasions or special gifts, there was always something we would read or do to make sure we remember it. Whether it was short poem in a card or fun scavenger hunts for birthday presents or Christmas presents. Something I remember vividly was the poem my dad wrote for me for my high school graduation about my grandmother who had passed 5 months earlier. I guess none of that comes as a surprise since I am on here writing for my father’s BLOG!
That leads me to the original piece I wrote for this post, but I went off on a tangent about birthdays. I decided to attempt a poem for my dad. It’s very simple, elementary school almost, but it is something I thought about over and over. I hope you enjoy it and it may even get you thinking about what you would do in that situation with a loved one.
If I Only If I only had some time, I would have a chance to say, All the things I am feeling Since you went away. If I only had four minutes, I would listen to your voice very close. I would take in each word and sound, That’s what I’d want to do the most. If I only had three minutes, I’d take you straight home to your bed. You would be much more comfortable, A familiar place to rest your tired head. If I only had two minutes, I would beg you to stay with me forever. I wouldn’t want to upset you, but I don’t want to be without you, whatsoever. If I only had one minute, I would listen and feel your heart beating. I would beg for one more minute, As our time together would be fleeting. If I only had one second, I would say, “I love you” and kiss your hand. I would lay my head on your shoulder, Why this was happening, I would try to understand. Now I have no time. And there’s an empty space in my heart. I hope to see you again one day. And never again, would we be apart. I hope wherever you are, You are watching over me. I promise to make you proud, And be the best person I can be. -Abby Volk 2/16/21