I don’t know how old I was when I realized that my dad’s name is Bob because even after I knew that to be true there seemed no reason to say it. To all the world he was Bob. Well, there were a few people who called him Robert. And his mom calls him Bobby to this day. But I don’t think it would be a very good idea for anyone else to go the Bobby route… He may be getting older but he plays a lot of golf and I’m sure all that club swinging is keeping him in good shape.
Back to the point, his name is Bob but there are two people in this word that have the privilege and honor of calling him something else entirely.
I remember being young, 10 or so, sitting in a lawn chair on the fourth of July outside with my neighbors watching my dad set off fireworks. I needed to tell him something. To get his attention. Maybe I was just asking permission for another bowl of my mom’s homemade Oreo Cookie Ice-cream or maybe I wanted to tell him not to light his shorts on fire. I can’t recall, but I do know I couldn’t get his attention by yelling “Daddy”. Yelling “Daddy” in the middle of a neighborhood holiday gathering was useless. It was like saying “Hello Mr. Smith!” at a Smith family reunion. I couldn’t walk over to him, he was in the designated fireworks lighting zone. It was a kid free area… okay it was supposed to be a kid free area. So I yelled out “Hey Bob!” and his head whipped around, eyes fixed on me. That look… It was something like irritation mixed with humor.
Bob. It’s still an odd name for me to say. It’s his. My dad’s. But Daddy is the only name I want to call him.
For instance? Saying “Happy birthday, Bob!” seems like the most unnatural thing in the world, so I think I’ll just stick with;
Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you.