Friday, November 13, 2009

So fortunate to have seen and been part of...

Been thinking about my dad off and on the last few weeks. Maybe it's the holidays approaching...I think about him at least once a day so when I mention the previous thinking, I mean really really thinking.

I miss him, I miss his jolly laugh, I miss his phone messages telling me to just throw the phone away if I wasn't gonna answer it...all his wit and charm. Some days I still live in denial and pretend that the last couple years never happened. It just makes it simpler sometimes. Other days I'm in a panic because I swore to myself that I would never forget that laugh that always warmed my heart to the core and I must shut out all the noise around me to bring that laughter to my ears...and to my relief, it's there loud and clear.

I don't often talk about my feelings about this with anyone only because I never know when the tears will come. My tears are pretty unpredictable since his death and my sensitivity level has definitely increased a bit. I have much more passion about life, my husband and my kids...those who have been here for all of this. Even Pat doesn't know how often I think about my father but I'm sure he isn't blind or clueless. He has known me for 24 1/2 years....he knows but I like to pretend he doesn't.

We visited my mom last weekend. It was a very nice time and long overdue!!! But during the visit, I asked my mom about my grandmother's ring, the one my father wanted me to have and some other things I had at their place...after awhile my mom asked if I wanted to go get my stuff and the ring. In my wildest dreams, the emotions that ran through me, my heart at that moment---I still cannot explain it.

The ring is nothing spectacular and I was told this many times by both my mom and dad...I never met my father's parents, I never knew them but I now have a piece of them on my finger. Some small token of how petite my grandmother may have been. There are so many feelings I have when I look at this ring, soooo many. So many questions that will never have complete answers...

Even though I never spoke to my father every week, he was a huge part of my life, a huge part of me, and a very huge influence on me. I spent a lot of time with him while I was growing, weekends at the cabin, in his garage 'helping' him fix cars. I followed him around like he was the Pied Piper and I suppose like any little girl, daddy was the light of my life. And we never really spoke, he would sing silly songs to me, ask me to get this or that or he would call me a pickle-puss or phonie-honie and my obvious favorite was screwy louie. Of course I had another nickname that I don't believe I've ever mentioned...that would be Bubbles.

I was fortunate...I am the youngest of eight kids...because my folks struggled to get the other seven all their needs and made sure their lives were laid out as best as my folks could do, I got the best part of my parents...the tail end of their parenting days. I've said before that my siblings have called me spoiled...I didn't choose my place in the family, I didn't ask for much from my folks nor did I get much...just their time.

I was just the fortunate one who got to enjoy them when life wasn't quite as stressful and busy for them. I wouldn't say I was spoiled, I would say I was pretty fortunate and lucky to have all the time I did get with my folks. And I cherish that with every fiber of my being.

Times weren't exactly ideal when I was growing up...all that mattered to me was that I was part of my parents lives. I was part of many things that I don't look upon negatively but as a great learning experience. Of course in those younger days of driving cross country as a 13 year old, I hated every minute of being in the same car but that's besides the point. As I grew older, I began to realize the gifts my parents gave to me during those long car rides or those boring weekends at the cabin...a rare glimpse of who they were...their laughter, their bickering, their conversations, them agreeing on something and making decisions together.

Those memories of my parents, of my mom's laughing, my father's snide comments or riddles...these are those things I've been thinking of so very much the last couple weeks. Occasionally my eyes begin to sting a bit or I find myself smiling when I come out of a deep moment of daydreaming.

I don't know the why's of all of this, just that the hole in my heart is not healing but filling with different kinds of realizations and understandings but mostly with admiration and love for two people -- my mom and dad -- who both granted me access to a part of their life that my siblings will never know. Maybe they do, I don't know but within me, I was the only child who went on those three week long drives and had to spend nights in hotels with my mom and dad. I wish for the sake of my siblings that they could have seen this, could have been part of this. I hold this memory very selfishly because it is mine to hold. I cannot change how this happened nor would I ever want to.

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