Dear Class of 2020,
I’ve heard you missed a lot because your spring semester was canceled. Though, like most dads, I’ve heard that I’m not the best listener. And, like most dads, I also claim an aversion to complaining. But I think you might want to know that as a dad of a daughter in the Class of 2020, I have missed some things too.
I missed trying to keep her from that dreaded disease — senioritis. I missed telling her Jack Nicholson once said that the minute you stop learning you’re dead. I missed her asking me, “Who is Jack Nicholson?” I then missed forcing her to watch One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. And I missed realizing that she should have been studying for a test. I missed being jealous that there is no senioritis later in life — just much less enjoyable senior moments.
I missed letting her skip family game night to spend time with her friends. And due to three straight months together — I missed missing her.
You sadly missed your awards banquet, but I missed scoffing at those at the awards banquet who did not dress up to the extent I did. And I missed labeling as pretentious those who dressed better than I did. I missed being pissed at the parents who weren’t paying attention when my daughter won her award. And I missed not paying attention when other kids won theirs. I missed calling every dad “man” because it’s just easier than remembering a single name. I missed making someone at my table laugh by saying, “Tell the cook this is low-grade dog food.” I missed him cracking me up by immediately replying, “This still has marks from where the jockey was hitting it.” I missed my daughter seeing me holding her trophy with pride. I missed her saying, “Daddy, you know something?” I missed asking, “What’s that?” And I missed her saying, “That award was for me.”
You missed out on a memorable prom night. But I missed telling my daughter’s prom date that I wasn’t one of those lunatics who would kill him if he tried anything. I missed telling him that I would instead spontaneously combust. I missed adding that there would be a strong chance that he’d be taken out by my flying spleen. I missed being told that it was much too late for me to sign up to be a chaperone. I missed my wife asking me, “Dave, please promise not to do anything stupid.” I missed being confused by that request. I missed sticking my head in the limo to make sure there was no booze. I missed hearing everyone ask, “What’s booze mean?” I missed blaring some music, and placing a big greasy steak in front of my daughter the following morning, just to make sure.
You missed the joy of graduation. I missed getting ready for graduation and thinking it seems like yesterday that I graduated while at the same time thinking that I have no idea what I did yesterday. I missed laughing when my wife told our daughter not to hurt anyone when she throws her hat in the air. I missed suggesting that she throw her hat at my wife. I missed my wife staring at me with daggers in her eyes. I missed the boring speeches and dreaming of my accompanying, blissful mid-afternoon snooze. I missed forgetting the directive to wait until the end to applaud. And I missed my wife’s embarrassment far exceeding mine. I missed hearing our last name mispronounced. I missed telling the people next to me, “It’s pronounced Bare-end. It’s German. It means naked ass.” I missed my wife telling me that they don’t care.
I missed the pride one can only feel from, you know, starting the wave.
You missed all of the fun graduation parties. I missed being forbidden from teaching my daughter’s friends the Electric Slide. I missed watching my wife frantically clean in preparation for the graduation party while accusing me of just making more messes. I missed sneaking away from the party to watch the NBA Playoffs. I missed hearing my wife say, “Where the hell is Dave?” And I missed wondering if she was referring to me.
I missed hearing my daughter’s friends lament about how this will be the last time they are together. I missed thinking, “What are they talking about? They’re going to see each other tomorrow.” I missed deciding not to say that because, you know, that would have been stupid.
Most of all, I missed watching my daughter hug and have fun with all of her friends as I wiped a tear from my eye. I missed my wife asking me if I was crying, just loud enough so that it could only be heard by everyone. I missed claiming that I simply had really red eyes — and felt lethargic, feverish, as well as unable to breathe.
Dave, the dad of a daughter of the Class of 2020