Saturday, June 15, 2013

Daddies (2013 repost)

Updated for 2013: I wrote this a couple of years ago on Father's Day. As I consider another year, I realized that I really said what I wanted to say about my daddy, so I'm reposting as is. This year, I am thinking of several friends who are facing their first Father's Day without the father -- you all get a hug from me. Daddy, I still miss you every day.

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Before I start, I have no idea if this will be hard or easy to write. I don't in any way want this blog to turn into some Debbie Downer site (or Teary Traci, as the case may be), but I know I'm not the only one who has to face some "holidays" with someone missing. Father's Day is a big one of those around here.

The Facebook "game" was to change your profile picture to one of your father. My first thought was that my daddy was gone before digital photos. My second was, "Hey! I have a scanner!"

Daddy died twelve days before Christmas 1999. He'd been diagnosed that January with melanoma, had surgeries, did chemo and radiation, went into remission. But it came back with a vengeance, and our family lost an amazing husband, father, and grandfather.

But that's just how it ended. That's only why Father's Day is a little sad now, because we'd much rather he was still here. How he lived is much more interesting, and gives a lot better memories than the last year of his life.

Dad was a pharmaceutical rep for as long as I can remember. He worked from home when he wasn't traveling, so he was often home when I got home from school. I realize now how unusual that was. In the summer, I'd go with him on one of his routes to -- ready for this exotic location? -- Abilene, San Angelo, and Brownwood! I couldn't wait! Motels and swimming pools! Now he'd probably be arrested for child abandonment, because I'm sure I stayed at the motel alone in the mornings when he went on sales calls. I just remember the swimming pools.

He drove me crazy when I was a teenager. To hear my mom tell it, we were exactly alike (Scorpios) and wanted our own way (who, me?), so conflicts were inevitable. I look back now, as a parent, and just wonder how he didn't strangle me on a regular basis. Or send me to boarding school.

Dad at our wedding, 1988
Dad's company made him get a computer. He hated it. Complained all the time. I wonder what he would have thought about the internet, and how we use email and Google now. Really, it could go either way -- I could see him being a complete YouTube addict in short order, and probably finding the most inappropriate videos first.

I had to grin recently in the grocery store when I passed an older man, standing in front of a row of sauces, talking on a cell phone. It was clear from a few overheard words that he was speaking to his wife. "I don't see it. I looked there. No, it's not. What? Why would it be there? Do you really need that kind?" I just knew that this was a scene that would have played out a hundred times for my parents. Cell phones were just coming into more common use when Daddy died, and he would likely have resisted to the very last ever using one. Texting? Oh please.

He was not Mr. Fix-It. He really wanted to be, but that gene skipped him completely. He had a strong moral code, and we called him Crusader Rabbit (he had the t-shirt) when he took on City Hall over something. I heard him say a cuss word once in my entire life (and he didn't know I heard him). He loved to sing, and really wanted to be better at it. He settled for having my mom's beautiful voice next to him in church every Sunday.

He taught my stepson how to hug. For that matter, he was the first man my husband hugged on a regular basis. I will never forget, about 4 months after he died, going to the store one evening. I made an offhand comment about some memory during the drive to the store. Next thing I knew, tears were on my strong husband's face, because he loved him just as much.

I want him to know that his wife and kids are doing well. That we're happy and healthy, and that we miss him still.

More than anything, I want him to know about his grandchildren amd great-grandchildren. That his first granddaughter is a lawyer, and planning to get married. That his first grandson is now a father of a precious baby girl. That his first great-grandson has his name. That his sons' daughters are loving, beautiful young women. That my baby loves God with all her heart.


Always happiest with his lap full of his grandbabies
So Father's Day is a little hard. Lots of good memories, but sadness that I don't get to give a card to the man who showed me what a father should be.

For my husband, the father of our daughter, it's also a sad time. His strong, strapping dad left this earth about nine months after my father. And 18 months later, both of us wanted our daddies more than we ever had in our lives -- as our own boy went to join them in heaven.

But losing fathers and even losing a child doesn't negate Father's Day. And when you're a parent, it's more important to remember the lessons you learn from those amazing fathers in your life: how to love, how to hug, what's important, and that people matter. I know that tears may be there, but I hope they are matched by the smiles from the happy memories we have of those we love, no matter where they are. If you're blessed to be able to still hug them in person, hold on a little extra long this year. Just tell them it's from me.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Randomness. It's all I've got.

I KNOW. I can't call myself a blogger if I don't actually BLOG. Stupid rules.

My "not in the mood to write" mood continues. Don't really know why -- I think I feel boring right now. It's the end-of-school-year craziness again -- I seem to be surprised every single year when April and May hit and there's something going on all the time. Kinda like being surprised when Christmas shows up and I'm not ready. And last week, I felt the need to do this:
At least my pedicure survived the impact.
RDub had gone on a business trip, Bug and I were outside by the pool before going on our evening walk/run. Dogs misbehaving, I stand up to break up their fun, and ram that foot into the metal leg of the deck chair. I knew instantly it was more than just stubbing my toe. It's now 6 days later and, while I don't think it was broken, it was definitely jammed. It's been all sorts of pretty colors this week.

So rather than getting started on our "school's out" workout routine, I've limped around the house all week. We're in week 6 of our challenge at work to walk/exercise more, and I had to alert my team that they'd have to help me out this week and boost my steps. I have no idea when I'll be able to put on real shoes, much less walk/run. This was NOT part of the plan.

As if that's not enough trauma, my baby is now a senior in high school. I don't understand how that happened.
I swear this was last week.
We survived the end of this year, but I make no guarantees that I'll survive next year. I'm already a basket case just thinking about graduation.

Moving on to more random tidbits: Our pool equipment stopped working the week before Memorial Day. Of course we'd planned a party, which I promptly cancelled. By the time we got somebody out here to look at it, the pool is a lovely shade of green (about like my foot, come to think of it), and I'm steeling myself for the diagnosis, assuming it will be a couple thousand dollars. I guess the universe decided to give us a break, because the technician told us we needed a $6 part from Home Depot, and RDub could fix it himself. Didn't even get charged for the service call. Sweet!

I'm in the middle of getting the decorations finished for my mother-in-law's 80th birthday party this month. I'm the only one in the planning who doesn't live near her, so I got out of all the cooking responsibilities. Thank you, Pinterest, for coming to the rescue. I still have to lay it all out and figure out how much of everything I need, but at least I have the supplies identified. I mocked it up on my table, and then promptly forgot to take pictures of the final result before the flowers died. This was an in process one:

Brown butcher paper on the tables, jars with purple, green, or yellow ribbon over burlap,
then something down the middle of the table -- cloth or paper.
Little mason jars for nuts and jelly bellies in these colors, assorted flowers, etc. Hopefully it will work!

Yesterday I found out that one of my colleagues passed away very quickly after a cancer diagnosis. I've worked with him for eight years, and it's just such a sudden loss. Dan loved to cook and last year started a cooking blog - one of his recipes was for me! He had looked into Paleo after hearing me mention it, and made up a Paleo bruschetta that I've made a few times since then. I'm not sure how long the link will be active, but here's the recipe. He's got a really good one for French onion soup posted there, too. RIP, Dr. Dan.

And that's it for today. I won't wait a month before I blog again. Swear.