I’m a Daddy’s Girl, but I come by my father worship honestly. My dad idolized his father. As a child, he watched my grandfather eat breakfast, have a cup of precious coffee and then smoke an unfiltered Camel cigarette.
One day my dad took a sip of the cold coffee. Unfortunately, the mostly-empty cup had been used as an ashtray for the cigarette ash.
Dad was horribly sick and ever since that day he has hated cigarettes and the smell of smoke like poison. Having my grandfather die in his early forties of “lung disease” didn’t help.
The only time my father was disappointed in me was when I smelled of smoke after a party. He did believe me when I told him I had not been the one who smoked. I’ve never touched a cigarette because I would hate to disappoint him.
So it’s ironic that today I will get in my car and drive eight hours east past the horse farms and into the mountains where I was raised, to sit with my step-mother while they cut the cancer out of my father’s left lung.
The night before his operation we’ll all stay at my brother’s house near the hospital. My brother and his wife have the cutest four little girls in the world (besides mine). We call them the G-Girls: Georgia, Gloria, Genevieve and Gemma. They are a sweet as they are beautiful.
We will all have dinner together and then sit on the couch and drink coffee until midnight. The G-Girls will fall asleep in our laps.
I’m bringing my Daddy’s all-time favorite dessert, banana pudding. I went to Trader Joe’s to get their “Ultimate Vanilla Wafer”, but I’m afraid I should have just gone with the classic Nilla Wafers. You want a tried-and-true basic and not something fancy when you need comfort food.
Still, it could make it with tofu and Dad would still eat a big dish and tell me how good it is, because that is what daddies do.
I will not think about my grandfather, who I never got to meet. I will not think about my boys’ own grandfather, who died of Stage 4 lung cancer two months ago. I will not think of my friend Sandy who died of breast cancer last month.
I will teach my step-mom to play Angry Birds, try to read ancient waiting room copies of Field and Stream, and text my husband. And we will wait. And I will pray for Stage 1.