To: My Impossible Girls
First, I must start off by saying (mustn’t we always?) that I love you both, very much.
We have never met… still, without you, my life has acquired a lingering feeling of emptiness and a sense of cold: like the last Autumn breeze of the season just before the first freeze of Winter blankets the sky.
All is not yet lost. In my Mind’s Eye, I see you- both of you: your dark hair in the sun and two pairs of hazel eyes staring up at me from the open doorway. I heard a knock. When I answered, I found you two standing there with your mother, smiling.
“Hi Dad!” you both exclaimed to me.
Through my shock, I kneel down, pull you both into my arms and bring you skyward as we spin around laughing. I try my best to hold back tears, but a mortal man can only do so much.
We go skydiving (the indoor variety to start) and camping in mountains and deserts. I teach you how to fight, dance, build, and, most importantly, to stand up and think for yourselves. You speak to each other in codes and the secret languages that only identical twins and siblings can. You share a bond with each other that I could never share… and I love you two even more for it.
I watch you grow.
Now, your father knows a lot, Girls (or at least, he pretends to) but not even he can help you through your most difficult years: for he is not either of you. I am not of Latin descent. I am not a female. I am not even a sibling. As much as I would want to help, I would lack the level of empathy to do so. However, there is one secret weapon that I keep up my sleeve. The one thing that would set me apart from the rest of the fathers in the world: I know everyone that can help you. You are surrounded by the greatest support team a parent could ask for. Your list of godmothers and godfathers across the world helps you blossom from girls learning themselves and the world around them into full-fledged women: strong, independent and proud (you are my Girls, after all).
I watch you both from that same doorway as you turn and wave goodbye, taking the first steps of your never-ending journey into your adult lives. A journey that will eventually take you across the world and back. My heart (and the pit of my stomach) is heavy. Again, there are tears in my eyes, but I stand confident that I have done for you all that a father could; you speak languages that break down barriers and build bridges, your extended family (would who do anything for you) covers the major areas of the known world, and I have taught you a thing or two about putting men in their place. I wave back, and wipe my eyes.
You are always together. It is your strength, your identity. That is why I don’t fret as you make your ways across new horizons. Neither of you call as much as I would like (kids never do), but I have taught you to be strong and function without me. My Girls will never need their old man, and they never should.
My hair begins its progression from blonde to white, and just as I begin to accept my age, there is another knock at the door. It’s only one set of smiling, hazel eyes this time. Your sister has found a lover in Paris and decided to lay her roots there for the meantime. The father within me is saddened at first, but soon there are flights across the world, the expansion of family and the sounds of children laughing. The father within me (much like my hair) makes the transition to grandfather, and all is well.
Now there are new flights and all new lessons in fights, life, and learning. The course of my second bout of parenthood slows as the grandchildren grow older, and I find myself sitting at the head of a large, grand table filled with food and loud, merry people. These people are my family. The family that you, Girls, have given me. Languages this old dog will never learn, aromas of foreign dishes that I have never heard of, and the sounds of children with lives to live- lives that will reach pinnacles I will never climb- float through my senses. It’s time to eat. I tap my cane evenly on the floor and rise from my place at the table. Adults and children alike follow suit. All eyes old enough to do so turn my way. In the crowd, I find you- both of you- holding the hands of your respective significant others. In your own times, you both smile at me, and this face returns the favor. I am old, Girls. I no longer talk as much nor move as I once did, but I am the happiest I have been in my long, long life…
In the end, I lay in bed. Your mother has passed, and I now come to the end of my path. The door clicks open and soon enough, you are both at my side. Just the two of you. That’s all I asked for. I take a hand from each of you into mine and look into those hazel eyes. Both of you are upset, but I am not; you have given this unworthy man a life of meaning. As I leave it all behind, I know that the two of you will continue my legacy in the only way a father could ever ask for: by making it your own. I smile my last smile and close my eyes to sleep the good sleep.
I return to the scene in the open doorway. You are small again, and I am holding you both closely in my arms. Your breathing matches mine, and your tiny hands rest on the back of my shirt. I don’t want to let you go, but the Eye of my Mind closes back shut. I find myself sitting here, staring at an empty, open doorway.
You were never here, and I have never met you. The only proof of your existence is the tears drying on my cheek.
In your brief time in this world, you managed to make your mark. You showed probability the door and made unlikelihood your poker friend. Your lives were mathematical improbabilities- impossibilities. My Impossible Girls.
I am sorry. I am so, so sorry. You were gone before I even knew you there. Even still, I did all that I could. I was relentless… but it was not enough. It was never going to be enough. I heard your voices in the distance and stumbled through the dark, grasping at anything and everything I could find. In my mind, I believed there was still something I could say… something I could do, but it was too dark, the distance too great. An impossible feat. By the time I found the light, you were gone and the room was empty.
I am not you, Girls: I cannot do the impossible. I only wish that you two did not have to suffer for my shortcomings.
I would trade this life for the one in which the two of you rest in my arms and hold my hands as we crossed the street. The one in which you smiled and laughed and cried and loved. The one in which I grasped my morning coffee as you took turns telling me stories of your adventures and heartaches… not the one in which I grasp this bottle of whiskey and watch the ice in my glass take turns melting.
I will, however, continue to keep smiling. I have others that need that from me, and, as you would have learned, it is important to provide for those around you whenever you can. I will not spoil your passing with more tears. I have cried enough, and your lives meant more to me than just melancholy… even if we did not get the chance to share anything else. You are not with me now, Girls, nor will you ever be. The open doorway will remind me of that fact each time I pass through it hoping to catch a glimpse of the Girls that almost changed my life. For now, I think I will leave that door open. Who knows? Maybe, someday, someone will walk through it and I will see the same smile in their eyes that I imagined in yours.
You have changed my life in one way: every January, I will look into the night sky and find the brightest pair of twinkling stars. With all my heart, I will blow an Impossible kiss to an Impossible sky for two Impossible Little Girls.
Just remember one thing for me, Girls: Daddy loves you, now and forever.