Category Archives: daddy

Grief By Surprise

I was minding my own business today.  Really, I was.  And a simple status update brought me up short.

A friend posted a fun list of questions about how well does an adult daughter know her dad.  It would seem she knows hers well.  The first question asked, “if you dad is sitting in front of the tv, what is he watching?”  One of her answers was YouTube.

It got me to thinking, what would my dad be watching…well, not much.  He wasn’t much to watch tv.  He was a workaholic so about all he did in front of the tv was either sleep or fall asleep just before the weather on the 11 o’clock news…and wake up as soon as the weather was done.

I think his favorite feature on a smartphone would have been looking up the weather or watching repair videos on YouTube.  But alas, his method for looking up repair procedures was the old Chilton Books (do they even still make those?).  I remember when it was time for me to learn how to fix my brakes on my 1982 Buick Skylark…I got my first foray into Chilton Books.

(It would appear the following video is as close as YouTube could get me–it seems most of the videos only get you back to about 1999–now I feel old)

 

Yes, I think he would have loved YouTube, but he died before it was created.  He died July 7, 2004 and YouTube was created February 14, 2005.  They would have been a match made in heaven.

He loved this song and would have loved looking it up to see who was getting the words right!

 

And suddenly, here I am sitting with grief.  Surprised to be wrapped up in thoughts of my dad.  Who he was, who I was, who I am now.  Who my husband is, who my children are.  Who he never met, what he is missing.

I am not overtaken by uncontrollable grief, but there is sadness and a heaviness.

 

Potato Salad and Memories

Caitlyn finished reading her book this morning.  With a lot of prodding.  It was due to the library today.  Our library allows two renewals and that’s it.  Times up.  Hubby says, “just remember where you left off and then check it back out in a week or so.”  That just doesn’t fly with me…read the book…you’ve had 6 weeks.  Get it done!!!  Caitlyn is a very capable reader, but it is not one of her true passions.  She has so many other things vying for her attention.  She has her arts and crafts, iPad games, and way more television options than I had growing up, even with us getting rid of cable.

Caitlyn is a very capable reader, but it is not one of her true passions.  She has so many other things vying for her attention.  She has her arts and crafts, iPad games, and way more television options than I had growing up, even with us getting rid of cable.  Reading just doesn’t always rank for her like it did for me growing up.

I am coming to grips with this reality.

In the meantime, a library trip was on the schedule today so we could return the book.  We got some schoolwork done and then headed to the library.  As I was parking the car, I said, “did we remember the library book bag??”

Um, no.  So back home we went–to get the books.  On the plus side, I hadn’t put money in the meter yet and we don’t live 45 minutes from the nearest library like I did growing up.

Growing up.  I lived “out in the country” where it is still actually “out in the country.”  We had a big garden.  We had farm animals.  We grew our own food.  The local butcher lived down the road from us.  Meal planning wasn’t trendy, it was necessary because grocery shopping happened once a week, if that.  My mom did a great job of canning produce so we had a lot of staples throughout the year and she kept the pantry well stocked.

One food I don’t remember us ever growing, though I think my aunt does now, was potatoes.  Those got bought from the store.  And somehow, making potato salad for my dad became my job.  It was always a big job.  Remember the extra humungous Tupperware bowl and lid set?  We had a yellow one and a batch of potato salad filled it.

I was super proud of making my dad his potato salad.  He liked it pretty bland by most standards.  A massive amount of potatoes boiled, peeled, and cut up, another massive amount of eggs boiled, peeled, and cut up, a little bit of onion cut up and added, and just a smidge of mustard to give it extra color.  That must have been its purpose because it sure wasn’t enough for flavor.

I made that potato salad over and over during the summer.  I loved making it.  I was so proud that my dad wanted me to make him his potato salad.  So proud, but I hated eating it.  It was just yuck to me.  And it stayed that way until I was in my 30s.  I just hated the stuff.

Until I was pregnant with Caitlyn.

Then, I loved it so much.  I literally dreamt of potato salad.  Any version, any brand.  Just hand over the potato salad and nobody would get hurt.

And I still love it!!!  It is even one food I can have on the low FODMAP diet.

So don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here wolfing down potato salad while the family has ice cream.

 

Enjoy What You’re Doing

Ten or so years ago, hubby and I rang a bell at a Salvation Army Kettle.  It is a chilly project, but low stress and high fun.  That experience was before kids.  I decided a couple weeks ago it was time to do it again–as a family of five!!

So, this afternoon we bundled up (glad it wasn’t as cold today as it was earlier this week) and headed out to the Post Office.

We sang, we danced, we said Merry Christmas and thank you!

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We had lots of comments from people saying we looked like we were having fun.  One guy, motioned over to hubby as he danced to Dominick the Donkey, and said, “you gotta enjoy what you are doing!”

And we did.

We were out there 2 hours and 20 minutes.  There were no bell ringers when we got there, so we just started our shift a little early.  People responded well.  Our bucket was completely full when we returned it to the Salvation Army Citadel this afternoon.

Our toes were cold, but our hearts were full from being able to do our part to help.

Retirement Age

Sixty-five.  Today my dad would have been 65.

But as you likely know, he only made it to 53 before we lost him to a car accident.  Like many, he worried about how to pay for retirement.  But, he never made it.  I think of that every time I hear someone fussing out when they are going to retire, needing to save their money to retire, putting things off until retirement.  I am in no ways saying we shouldn’t save for retirement, we definitely should if we are able.  But remember, retirement is not guaranteed.  We are only promised today.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

Make wise decisions.  Do not live for tomorrow.  Remember to live today. Remember to love those in your life today.  Remember to be present today.

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Twelve Years of Checkmate

Last night their daddy taught them to play chess.

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He is the proud daddy of three girls.

As was my daddy.

I remember him trying to teach me to play chess…

I miss you daddy.  It has been 12 long years since you left us.

We Went We Saw

Four years ago, we headed a few states over for a family wedding.  We did some camping along the way.

Turns out, I remember very little of it.

Patrice was one years old.  I don’t remember her being there at all.  Hubby tells me she was very good about camping and the wedding, but if you ask me, she wasn’t even there.

And sorry to my niece who was getting married, I don’t remember the wedding at all.  I am sure it was just lovely.  Really lovely, but you see, I was very sick with the postpartum depression and bipolar at the time.  Life at that time was really hard and so very foggy.

But time has passed and my meds are better…and my mind is allowing me to think and remember.

So this trip to a wedding was very different.  It was very nice.  We went to our nephews’ wedding and then headed to Lake Michigan to relax and even visit Chicago for a day.

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A waterfall in Wisconsin we visited with family before heading to Lake Michigan2016-06-08 07.36.48 2016-06-08 07.38.41 2016-06-08 09.24.22 2016-06-08 11.54.49 2016-06-09 10.28.58 2016-06-09 11.20.57 2016-06-09 12.29.25 2016-06-09 12.32.43 2016-06-09 15.09.42 2016-06-09 15.19.48 2016-06-09 15.50.44 2016-06-09 19.28.26 2016-06-10 13.37.00 2016-06-10 20.41.52 2016-06-10 20.53.07

Meeting another warrior mom was a huge highlight of the trip!!!2016-06-10 21.42.05 2016-06-11 08.21.03 2016-06-11 09.31.27 2016-06-11 12.10.21 2016-06-11 19.01.13 2016-06-11 20.51.33 2016-06-12 08.35.53This trip was fantastic and I am hoping to remember it for a very long time!!!

Two Lawns Done

I think too much.  It’s just that.  Plain and simple.  I honestly think it is part of the reason mental illness found a home between my ears.  I stew in my thoughts.  I often can’t let them go.  And things have meaning to me, a lot of meaning.

Take, for instance, mowing the lawn.  Yup.  It is a hot and sweaty job that makes me feel liberated and empowered.

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I tried to mow the lawn for my dad when I was a little girl.  He had this old riding lawn mower.  And at probably 12 or so he let me try to do the lawn.

He wasn’t impressed.

After two attempts, he declared it looked like a racetrack and said I couldn’t mow it anymore.

I learned I was no good at it and that was that.

Another thing I wasn’t good at.

I tried to brush it off, but damn.  I took that thought deep.  I was no good at it.

Then I met the hubby.  We each had our own houses when we met (obviously) and I had this little teeny tiny lawn to mow.  I was paying someone but hubby had an extra mower and taught me how to start it, run it, and mow my postage stamp.

It was liberating.  I loved heading out there to mow my little spot.  I could do it.  I didn’t need someone else for this task.

Once we got married, me mowing the lawn took a backseat as three kids came in four years.  I was nursing one baby or another for 5 years, so I was kind of needed in the house.

Now, they are older and I am back outside part of the time.

I have joyfully taken on the job of mowing the lawn again.

Today, I mowed TWO lawns, while hubby cleaned the kitchen 😉 and then came out and did the trimming of the lawns.

I did it.  I did a task I had been told, and told myself, that I couldn’t do.  And that folks, is empowering.  I feel like a million sweaty bucks.

I love my dad deeply and the anniversary of his death is coming up Tuesday.  You’ll read a nice post about how much I love him, and I do, but right now, if he were here, I would choose the ever mature action of sticking my tongue out at him and saying, “I did it!  So THERE!”

 

It’s Late But While It Is Still Today

It’s late on December 16th.  I need to go to bed.  My brain likes to wake up around 2 and kids like to find their way to me around 7.

But I’m awake.  Gorging myself on cake.  Chocolate cake with Chocolate frosting.

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The kids had some, hubby had some.  I did a lot of the damage.  And honestly, I want to clean the rest of it off too.

I can’t let go of today.

July 7, 2004 my dad died in a single vehicle crash.

He wasn’t at my wedding.  He wasn’t there to meet any of my kids.  He isn’t here to see me fight depression with all I’ve got.  He’s not here to admit he fought depression, round after round.  With no help.  On his own.

But that’s not really why I can’t go to bed and I want to make myself sick with cake.

When my daddy died, my brother-in-law said, “don’t grieve forever.”  And I knew/know what he meant.  And I don’t.  I think of my daddy often, but I am not overtaken on a daily basis.  But there are a couple days I let myself grieve.   I give myself permission to think about him, to ruminate about all he has missed and to wish he were here to be the man I am continuously learning he was.

His birthday, today for 45 more minutes, is one of those days.

He was 52, almost 53 when he died.  He hated having a winter birthday, hated celebrating inside, but he liked chocolate cake, so that is what I give my girls of the grandpa they never knew.  We eat cake, too much cake, overloaded with chocolate.

It’s odd, but it’s my way of saying “I love you daddy.”

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And for today, for the few minutes it is still today, I will let myself grieve, the best way I know how.

“I love you daddy.  Thank you for teaching me my alphabet, thank you for teaching me to tie my shoes, and ride a horse and a bike, and respect authority, and drive a car, and change the oil and brakes on said car.  Thank you for forgiving my debt on the new engine the car needed on that Christmas long ago.  You thought it was bad that you hadn’t gotten me a gift I could unwrap.  I thought it was the best feeling ever to have that weight of debt off my shoulders.  Thank you for listening to me cry when I wasn’t chosen for leadership at college, thank you for giving me a new lamp to replace one you had given me years before.  Thank you for being a strong, steady voice of reason.  I love you daddy.”

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Happy 63rd Birthday in Heaven.  I hope parties in heaven are amazing!!!!

I love hearing new stories of my daddy from family and friends.

Keep them coming!

Generation to Generation

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Ho, ho, ho and Merry Christmas weren’t really heard in my house.  Not that we didn’t celebrate the, we did, but it didn’t bring out the best in my nuclear family.

My dad wore Christmas, truly, he worked in the Christmas tree fields seasonally.  And each year, said trees have to be painted green.  Yup, there’s the big secret, the trees are naturally pink, so they paint them green.  Or, they grow green but need to be treated with pesticides which are put in a green “paint” solution.  Yes, yes, yes, the second explanation is a little more logical, but the pink thing?  Way more fun to tell the other little kids in your class when you’re a kid.  Those big eyes when you tell them Christmas trees are really pink–priceless!!

But his Christmas cheer didn’t go past skin deep.  He hated not having money to buy lots of presents.  He really hated tracking back through the lights to find the burnt out bulb.  And he didn’t do any decorating past that.

From that point on, it was me and my mom.  We put up ornaments and cute little decorations around the house.  It was nothing elaborate, but it worked for us.

Then the days of the stupid needles falling off, trying all different solutions to make them stay on longer, the counter weights needed on the tree to keep it from falling over and still hearing the “crash” at least once per season.

My mom would Christmas shop at sales, yard sales, bargain hunting from December 26th on each year.  So we had gifts, but money was always an issue.  Always.  And it made my folks grumpy.  With themselves, with each other, and with the season that taxed an already tight budget.

The days of glitz and lights brought little cheer to our house.  Come Christmas morning I never felt cheated in presents to open, but I knew the season was not a favorite around our house.

The disappointment, the fights, the arguments kept it from being an exciting time for us.

Over the years, my folks went their own separate ways.  My mom found someone who loves decorating for holidays and she continues her skill at shopping year round.  They have their tree up early each year, lights spread around and garland up  and down.

I don’t.  No early here.  None.  I prefer the later the better.  I hate having the furniture moved around to accommodate the tree.  I hate having to tell the girls not to touch or to be careful.  I don’t enjoy the process of getting the tree out of the box, the branches spread out, ornaments unpacked.  The one and only part I enjoy is sitting in the living room with just the tree lights on.  But a week of that is enough.

I have seen more than one post today on Facebook talking about when people put up their tree, with many saying today.  And then there is me–“as late as possible” or “skip it due to lack of interest.”  Too bad that last one is unacceptable.  And the other is out of fashion.

Because me, I’d rather be over here ignoring the bling of the season.