This Father’s Day

My Father: A Larger Than Life Anchor

Both of my kids were awful sleepers as babies – like an hour here, 15 minutes there – then they were ON until the next 10-minute nap.  I learned that playing music in their room at night was KEY to keeping them asleep.  So – every night I would put my phone on silent, put it under my son’s crib, and play whatever “baby night-night” playlist I could find.  One morning when my son was a year and a half old,  I went into his room around 6 am, as I did each morning,  and saw that I had over 40 missed calls. My brother, my sister, and my stepmom had called over and over and over again – all night.  My stomach was in my throat, I was sweating and already in a total panic.  I knew that from this day forward my life would be forever changed.

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My Father: A Man Of Adventure

A few months prior, my Dad took his annual motorcycle trip from his house in Northern California to our house near Dallas, TX.  I was always touched that he made such an effort to include our little family in his rounds as we were much farther south than anyone else he’d visit.  I was especially looking forward to this visit because my son was just over a year old and past the “new baby” stage and was walking, interacting, laughing (NOT sleeping….) and I was excited to see my Dad and my son hang out.  My Dad was NOT a ‘baby-little kid-young kid’ kind of Dad.  His very dry sense of humor was lost on anyone under the age of, say, 25-ish.  While he’d be cracking up at some joke he’d made undoubtedly geopolitical in nature or so sly-to-the-inside for you baseball fans – us kids would be staring at him uncomfortably not knowing if he was laughing WITH or AT us – or neither.  As an adult, I thought him to be one of the most clever, sarcastic, funny without being overtly so, people I knew – and he cracked.  Me.  Up.

My Dad retired when he was 46.  Yup.  He’d become a scratch golfer, an A tennis player, had ridden his bike from Oregon to Virginia – twice (like, peddled…no motor but himself), hiked the highest mountain peaks, built an igloo to camp in (who does that???), and was a beautiful snow skier – any mountain, any weather, any time.  

That trip to TX – when he and my son hung out?  That would be the last time I would ever see my Dad.  I was always melancholy watching him gear up to head out to his next destination – but that last trip as I watched him ride out of the driveway and down our tree-lined street, I sat down right where I was and cried.  I didn’t know why, something felt different.  The world seemed to stop and allow me a moment to just be inside myself and appreciate the entirety of the 43 years I’d shared with him.

This Father’s Day, Hug, Laugh, Listen

You see – the 40 missed calls – they were to tell me that in an instant – quite literally less than 1 second, my Dad was gone. My stepmom had poked her head in his den and asked if he wanted dessert.  He OF COURSE said yes – she came back a moment later and he was gone.  Just like that.  This larger than life, anchor to safety, adventurous, laugh that would shake a room, my Dad – so softly, quietly, personally – was gone.

This Father’s Day – as you receive invitations to the BBQ’s, brunches, Zoom calls – say yes.  Call, don’t text.  Hug, laugh, listen.  Be present.  Take the time.  Get to know him.  Trust me on this one – you’ll be glad you did.

Enjoyed this article? Read another Momma Blog on First Time Fears – Leaving Dad Alone with Baby.

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So true!

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Oh No!

For real

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