Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's that day again....

I really thought that I was going to be able to get away with not doing the whole "did you know that my Dad died?" blog this year. I was genuinely going to try. I've been venting my emotions out on Facebook and talking to good friends and just kind of getting by. But maybe I've been in denial, because every year I think it hurts a little less and really....every year I realize that it still hurts the same.

Plus tonight the husband is out of town and and my kids are doing their ping-pong-ball-off-the-walls imitations and I'm retaining water and craving chocolate and short on sleep so I'm just generally feeling kind of down. Not to mention I just finished wrestling a tinder-dry Christmas tree out of the house by myself, carpeting my hardwood floor in pine needles before knocking a shelf off of the wall and sending a lamp flying in the process -- right before stepping in dog doo after unceremoniously heaving what has basically become the world's largest toothpick into my front yard for the time being.

So yeah....I've hit a low point. Every Mommy has them. This is mine.

I'm not sure if it was the tree or the lamp or the kids that finally made me realize that I've spent a good part of my day IGNORING the day. I haven't let it in. And I'm still not sure I want to. Right now I kind of feel the way I did three days after Banana was born, when my Mom came over to help and I got emotional over the fact that I burned a grilled cheese sandwich right before bursting into hysterical tears when I stubbed my toe...I'm in that place right now - where the smallest thing could be akin to the breaking of a dam. And I'm not ready to open the floodgates.

So this year, let's try something different. If you want to read the sob story, it's on here, under January of 2009. This year let's talk about some of the GOOD stuff. Like the time we went camping and my parents realized that they had remembered the coffee, but forgotten the coffee filters. Being a coffee drinker myself now, I completely understand that that was a potential disaster of substantial magnitude. But my Dad didn't let it phase him - not when he had a perfectly good clean tube sock at his disposal. It may not have been Starbuck's Special Roast, but cafe ala sock probably had it's own unique taste!

Then there was the time he took me fishing. Actually he took me fishing millions of times, but this one time he took me to Shabonna Lake in Northern Illinois. I don't remember much about the day, just that we left early, he bought us McDonald's for breakfast, and I caught three fish that day. Mostly what I remember is that it was just me and my Dad, and that day I had him all to myself, and he was my hero.

I remember the look on his face the first time he saw me in a formal dress...and the look on his face after the doorbell rang and he saw the look on my high-school boyfriend's face! I remember sitting in the garage in the old yellow swing after getting my first real kiss and jumping six feet in the air when the door to the house squeaked open and he came out "to check on the sprinkler." Sure, the sprinkler. Right. Moving on.

When I was in college we took our last big family vacation to the Grand Canyon. In Sedona we ventured out on a guided horseback tour. If you have ever been on one of those, you know that the only horses that are more gentle and calm are the ones you see hitched up to the pony rides for little kids at the carnival. But when we crossed a small stream, Dad's horse pawed at the water and whuffled loudly, coming up on his hind legs before finally relenting and crossing the creek...and afterwards to hear Dad tell the story, you would have thought that Wyatt Earp had just bullied his wild steed across the mighty Mississippi.

I remember so many different things - so many snapshots - so many moments.

I remember telling him he was going to be a Papa. Twice.

When Skippy and I got married, my Dad was determined to have everything just so. My Mom was the one who worried about getting the bride ready to go, but Dad was the one who made sure I ate breakfast and who decided at the last minute that we should have balloons for the guests to release after the ceremony. I remember him coming to me in the chapel and telling me that it was time to go. He was stoic when he walked me down the aisle - my pillar of strength. His voice was strong when he replied "Her Mother and I do" in response to the classic "Who gives this woman in holy matrimony?" He was quiet and proud and serious when he took his seat next to my Mom....and then somewhere along the way, during a fourteen minute ceremony, it was the father of bride, not the mother, who became choked up.

So many little when my Dad laughed really REALLY hard, I used to think he sounded like Ernie from Sesame Street.

He bought cheap beer, but I think his real drink was rum and Coke.

He tucked his tshirts into his sweat pants on weekends.

He drove us crazy, lectured, and gave unsolicited advice every chance he got.

He loved us more than anything.

I love you, Dad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this.