Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thinking of Dad

Father's Day is quickly approaching and I have been thinking about my dad even more often than I usually do. Little things remind me of my dad daily. Funny things the kids say, the afternoon sunlight settling into the trees and flowers in golden sparkles, his wedding ring in my jewelry box and his laminated army license on my dresser. Seeing an older gentleman cruising down the road on a motorcycle I almost do a double take thinking it was my dad.

My dad has been gone for almost six years now but he is still all around me. He always will be. He will always be with me.
On our way up north my kids ooh and aah and point out the beautiful peachy sunset. They appreciate the rolling hills and the golden colors cast across the landscape. "You did that." I silently say to my dad. "You so appreciated and saw beauty in every little thing and you passed that on to your children and, in turn, your grandchildren. You did that. Thank you."
I watch as my boys grow to be capable outdoorsmen. They are already fine fisherman, great hikers, and are on their way to becoming confident hunters. I know my dad is bursting with pride at his grandsons. I know he is cheering them on at their basketball, baseball, and football games, and getting teary eyed watching them sing on stage just like he did when he would watch me sing on stage. What I would give to have him sit next to me and enjoy watching those boys together. It always struck me how all through his Alzheimer's he always knew the boys. He always got a kick out of those rambunctious boys.

And Grace. Oh Grace. I know dad never got to see Grace in this world but I am confident he was the first to meet her. I just know that they met as he was leaving this world and she was about to enter. I can picture him holding her, ever so carefully, and singing to her as he did to me as a child. I imagine he is thrilled at what a waterbug Grace is. How brave she is. How tough she is and how well she keeps up with her brothers, fishing and hiking with the best of them. And every time Grace has a stubborn, sassy moment I can see my dad chuckling. Oh how he loved his girls to be strong and tough and independent.

Oh how I wish he was still here. That I could hear his voice again. His laugh. That he could wrap me in his big strong arms and give me a hug. There is just so much of him that I miss.

My dad worked third shift in a factory for over 30 years to provide for his family of 8. He would walk to work every night. Sometimes he would ride his bike. We had one family car that he would NEVER take to work (even in a blizzard) in the off-chance that my mom might need it in the morning to take us kids to school. He found beauty in everyday things that most people didn't notice, making the ordinary extraordinary. He was a fierce protector of the underdog. He befriended all (except those SOBs that broke glass in the park and left it for innocent kids to step in). He was an avid outdoorsman and an inspired athlete. He was the life of the party, the ultimate comedian in his impersonations and jokes. He was an immensely talented singer (a crooner), a dancer, and a performer. He cut the grass, he grilled out, he fixed the fence (time and again- "stop climbing on the damn fence!"), he built a play tower, he took us camping, he killed the centipedes, he built the shed, he took us on motorcycle rides, he taught me how to change a tire and how to throw a spiral. I can remember how careful his giant hands were when he would gently wash my hair with my head hovering in the kitchen sink. When we were babies he rocked us, when we were scared he held us, when we were tired he carried us up to our beds. I remember faking sleep a number of times in my childhood just so he would carry me to bed. Not only did he tell us he loved us but he showed us as well. He was at every play, every concert, every game. He was always there. He was a constant. He would drop everything if we needed him. He thought my sarcasm was hilarious, he encouraged my spunk, he was proud of my independence. He told me I was beautiful and smart and even though I couldn't believe the words he said them with such conviction that I knew he believed and that meant everything to me. He taught me how to love God and how to put my trust in Him. My dad was far from perfect, he had flaws, he was human, he made mistakes. But my dad will always be my hero. I miss him more than I can say.

 Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

I love you and miss you.

9 comments:

Bijoux said...

Well, thanks for making me cry, Kat :). What great photos (the car one is so cool) and a loving tribute to your Dad. I visited mine today for Fathers Day. He is in beginning stages of dementia. It makes me so sad to watch him slowly lose touch.

Have a great weekend with your kids and their own wonderful Dad!

betty said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Kat! Loved the pictures you shared too of him and the family! I hope you share it with your kids too of the great man their grandfather was!

betty

Kat said...

Bijoux- I am so sorry to hear that. I definitely know how difficult it is. Just try and remember that though his mind may not allow him to remember all those he loves (eventually), his soul certainly does, even when the dementia has progressed. He is still in there. My prayers are with you and your family.
-that car pic is one of my favs of my dad and I. :)

Betty- We talk about both of the grandpas all the time around here. My kids will know them through our stories. :)

blogoratti said...

Very touching tribute indeed, and those photos are so lovely. I am sure you have great and fond memories, thanks for sharing it all!

Bijoux said...

Thank you, friend. XO

Midlife Roadtripper said...

"He told me I was beautiful and smart and even though I couldn't believe the words he said them with such conviction that I knew he believed and that meant everything to me."

I completely understand this. A truly lovely piece you've written. I'm certain you shed a few tears while writing it, but, oh, to be remembered with such love. Your dad was very blessed to have had you.

Mom24 said...

No words. (((Hugs))). You were very lucky, as was I.

Elaine Alguire said...

These words and memories are forever precious. You make me love your Dad too.

xoxo

Riahli said...

Beautiful

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson