I realized the other day I often blog about my mom and the impact of her loss on my life, but I never blog about my dad. Unintentionally I always talk about someone I haven’t seen in 20 years, yet never mention the most constant person in my life since I was born. Of all people, he has had and continues to have the biggest impact on my life.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be everywhere my dad was. He would go to work on Saturday mornings to get a few things completed while the office was quiet. I always asked to go with him. He would let me separate the carbon copy triplicates. He would give me $1! I didn’t do it for the money, I wanted time with him all by myself. At Christmas when he would climb up on the house to put the Christmas lights up (almost like Clark Griswold), I would climb up with him and sit there watching. I remember going to a little pond in town to go fishing with him.
As I got into high school, he was my biggest fan. My freshmen year I was at the district track meet and had made finals in the triple jump. I was on my last attempt and needed the best jump of my life to make it to the regional track meet. As I jumped into the air and came down into the sand I heard him yell YES. All I could do was run straight into his arms.
None of us knew what to do when mom died. She died in August and the thought of Christmas for any of us was too much to bear. Dad decided we should go to South Padre Island for a few days. The night before we left he gave us our presents. The summer before mom died, she had started to make me a quilt out of all my high school t-shirts. She never finished it…. For Christmas, dad had it finished for me. I cried, and cried. Christmas Day we ate TV dinners and watched tons of videos on the coldest day in Padre watching the waves out of the window. It still is one of my favorite Christmas memories.
When I moved to North Carolina for doctoral work, I remember him crying putting together a bookshelf for me the day after I moved into my new apartment. I cried too. We both knew I needed to use my wings to fly, but being so far from home was too much for both of us. He was my consistent support when doctoral work was overwhelming and I felt like I was not qualified to finish.
Slowly through the years, he became one of my dearest friends. I would discuss relationships issues, issues of knowing what I would do with my life… he would listen, never judgmental, even when I made horrible decisions. He would always be there to hug me and tell me that it would be OK.
People often ask how I managed life after my mom died. I often say I don’t know… but in reality a large part of it has been my dad. When I felt like I no longer had a home, he was home. Home I realized isn’t a place for me, but a person. In the same way he took the quilt my mom started for me and had it finished…. He picked up the pieces of our family when she died and has slowly guided us to putting it back together.
So yes, it was pretty horrible my mom died, but I count myself so fortunate in life and one of the biggest reasons is my dad. Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I love you more than I can even say and thank you. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and always being my biggest fan.