Father’s Day 2014

Most know, this is not the easiest day for me. I miss the two dads in my life more than anything. One not more than the other. Both leave a gaping hole in my heart. And not a single Father’s Day passes in which I don’t yearn to hug them and smile with them. Neither of which I can do as they have both been gone for many years now. I hug my heart and hope the day passes quickly.

I think one of the hardest parts of missing the day with them is because it feels like a very secluded thing. I don’t think anyone can understand my pain and the hurt of missing them. Not to mention the confusion of celebration versus grief.

But a funny thing happened…a poem I wrote on Father’s Day 2011 (last year and this year) ended up with hundreds and hundreds of hits on Father’s Day weekend. I thought the first time it was a crazy fluke, but this year it happened again. I knew it wasn’t just a SEO dream come true. This poem is titled If Heaven had a Father’s Day.

And it is very clear to me that I am NOT the only one missing my Dad(s). I am not the only one that yearns for a Father’s Day hug from one that is no longer here. And the big hole in my heart is a just a bit bigger for all them too.

This year, I changed it up. I decided I would not be sad (as much), but I would celebrate the Dad in my life today. He is my husband. He is a terrific Father with two wonderful girls. A wonderful stepfather to my girl. I must admit, this is my first experience with video, but I did try my best. And you know what? It worked. I ended up way to busy to be sad.

This crafting of video and photos. The process of making the “tape” brought so much life to the present. How could I dwell on what I am missing when there is so much to be part of right now? My step girls are growing up way too fast.

So to my husband, I thank you…and I celebrate you…the girls and I loved making this for you. I think it is more precious than a simple card.

This is a hilarious response to what they know about him when I asked them both to tell me about their dad.

As a bonus…a little behind the scenes photo booth using a song for twins. It is an inside joke with our family, but oh so appropriate.

Happy Father’s Day to all!

A place I return to……

I pulled through the narrow opening of the rusty swing gate. I steered the car carefully down the gravel path making the sharp left turn. I stopped and backed up going off-road, inwardly cringing I could be driving over a grave. I apologized in my head and straightened the car to face back the direction I came. The rusty white gate lay ahead in the distance. I briefly wondered if I could navigate the beast back through without a scratch…then pushed the thought aside.

I was stalling.

This is the hardest part for me. Getting out of the car and walking to the grave.

Most times I like to go alone because, with him, my emotions are raw. Too raw for me to share easily. Plus, I like talk to him. I tell him everything. Oh I know he is not there, not physically, but in my heart, I know he hears me. I know this is what I need.

I exit the car and briefly wonder if I should take my camera, then I think….no, I have my phone. The slam of the car door seems too loud in the small, quiet graveyard. I softly crunch through the yellow grass as I head towards the black stone. I glance at the other stones, and I smile sadly.

This place. Where so many cried, and yearned, and missed someone deeply. It’s not just their loved ones here, but part of them too. The part that died with them.

I approach his grave expecting the brick to hit my chest, and the burning tears to fly as my throat chokes. I wait and I smile my sad smile in remembrance of such a wonderful father and I realize………

I’m not as sad as years past.

In fact, I almost didn’t come this year. So many things to do, at home, and with the kids. Physical ailments – hives, hormones, and the stress of work on top of work.

I needed to get so many things done. I did not have time to drive six hours to Oklahoma and back to visit a grave. A stone. A stone in the ground and that is it.

Yet, here I am………because I couldn’t NOT come.

It was on a Sunday then too…..FOUR years ago……I hugged his neck for the last time.

I didn’t know it would be the last time. How could I? He was fine. He was my rock. He was always going to be there…..at least for many more years.

But in an instant. A blocked artery. A fateful night. He was gone. So suddenly.

So I come. I come on the Sunday I saw him last. I come to remember, and to thank him for all his years.

I bend down. Surprised by the peace I feel. Surprised that the years passing really do make it easier. My hand rests on the hot stone.

We talk.

And it ends as it always ends. My heart emptying out my thankfulness for his goodness, for his love, and for his shining example of strength. His handicap taught me so much about always pushing forward with your head up – no matter what.

My God, if a crippled man could do life so well. I could too. I could learn from my mistakes. I could love myself in spite of my failures….in spite of my anxieties…..in spite of my overwhelming stress of doing too much, seeking too hard, and falling over my dreams in a rush.

I feel his pride in my soul. My strength. The reason I keep my head up.

Maybe he is gone. Maybe he isn’t.

The tears drop as I turn away. In a blur, the dry dirt swallows them.

I turn to see his view and I think…how perfect.

A beautiful setting for a beautiful soul.

I whisper as I walk away….I’ll see you again…..real soon. And I smile.

The Square Root of Father’s Day

Father’s Day.

I have such a hard time with this one. It’s a mathematical puzzle, I can’t solve or calculate.

On one hand, it’s the day I think of my dad’s more than any other. It’s a day I smile and remember (precious memories)……. and it’s the day I miss them terribly.

It’s the week when I see a picture of a bride dancing with her father at her wedding and it makes me cry inconsolably.

I wish for many moments with them. I wish for them to know my step-daughters. I wish for that last hug, and last good-bye – just one more conversation, one more Christmas, one more birthday, one more Father’s Day.

It’s Father’s Day and mine are in heaven and if yours aren’t, I hope you squeeze them real tight.

And yet………

I have a wonderful husband in my life who is one of the BEST dads in the world. Not only to his two little girls, but to my daughter as well. He married me and got a full-time teenager. What in the world was he thinking?

Out of all the horror stories of marriages with teens, and he didn’t run away. He took on the challenge. For that alone, he should be celebrated as the hero he is. But it’s more than that, he loves her like his own too.

Accepting another person’s child as your own is the hardest thing to do in a blended family. For that I am so grateful…..

It truly makes life a blessing and it makes Father’s Day a whole lot easier for me.

My daughter is very lucky to have you. She is lucky to have her dad in the picture as well. Sydney gets what I had growing up – two WONDERFUL Dads. A gift more precious than gold.

So Jason, I picked some photographs out of the archives. Ones that I think celebrate the loving and caring Dad you are. Ones I hope show how much I love the father you are to these children.

The impact you have on these lives will last a life-time. I hope you know how much you mean to them by just being you and holding tight. I am so proud of you.

As a daughter, I can say, there is nothing more soul-filling than a Father’s love. Thank-you for gifting your love to our daughters.


Dad, step-dad, great husband, and one of the nicest guys I know.


Always a helper and support, you lend a hand to not only your daughters, but to anyone else that needs it.


Your accomplishments are always made sweeter by the joy that is shared by your family.


Despite a bitter divorce, you insisted on having a picture of the girl’s mom in their room at your house.


You are never afraid to be silly.


You uphold your dad duties of caring for your children and have never passed off that responsibility. From dinner, to bath, to bed-time book reading you do it all and cherish every moment.


Not many fathers are as proud as you are of your three beautiful daughters.


Not many step-fathers are such important mentors in their teen daughter’s life.


Not many Dads display such fine artwork on their refrigerator.


You are truly our knight-in-shining armor.


We are so blessed to have you.

Happy Father’s Day with love!

Today is a big day

Thoughts have swirled around in my head about what to write for today.

Do I tell you about my Dad(s)? Gary and Carl. One biological, one by marriage; both showered me with all the love and care a girl could hope for.

Do I tell you how today is the first anniversary of my blog? The sad, shocking beginning that turned into the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Or do I tell you about all my firsts on Father’s Day? The first time I ever visited a Church and liked it (3 yrs ago). The first time Jason told me he loved me (2 yrs ago). The first time I had a Father’s Day with no living Father (today).

Now you can see why this is probably one of the hardest posts to write. How do I celebrate the sheer joy and accomplishment of blogging, but also honor the two men that changed my life? Two men who are no longer here. Two men that departed way too soon. All my Father’s are in heaven now. I can’t hug them, or mail a card. I can only fill my heart with gratitude for being blessed by their presence in my life.

In a way, this is all connected. My blog. My Dads. Their life and death. I wrote about my step dad when I first starting blogging, One year later, A Father’s Love. I wanted everyone to know, there are GOOD step parents out there. Ones that truly love you, like you are their own. Ones that add to your life. So much about me reflects my step dad. My love of computers, my compassion for the disabled, and my desire to always live life to the fullest, despite the hand you are dealt. Writing his story was deeply touching and healing for me.

In the same first blog year that I remembered my step dad, I said good-bye to my real one – Good-bye Dad. I haven’t wrote the story about seeing him for the last time. Not really, but I will. I wrote a blog post within hours of his passing. It was the most therapeutic thing I could have done. He was a FUN Dad. He made me laugh. His death has been much harder for me. He wanted to be cremated. There is no grave. I know he wouldn’t be in that grave. I do. I guess I just wanted a place to visit and tell him what was going on, like I do with my step dad.

What’s weird about that is yesterday I realized…I DO have a place. The park by Jason’s house is FULL of wild life, and every bike ride I take, I see an animal. Some creature great, or small crosses my path. My Dad LOVED animals. He wanted to be a park ranger. I remember weekends at his house when I would look at ALL the books he had on wildlife. He even sent me a magazine subscription on animals every year when I was little. I realized, this is where he is for me, and why I love it so much. I see a bobcat and think….Dad would flip to see that (he had a stuffed one – no lie). I see a Red-tail Hawk in flight, and there is Dad forefront in my mind watching it soar with me. He is in that place, in that park, and it only took two bobcats, a snake, and a lizard to convince me of it (ha).

My year of blogging hasn’t just told stories, but I’ve met friends. I was even lucky enough to meet them in person. Take a look.

Peggy

From – Square Peg in a Round Hole. She is a delight and her blog is a delight, plus she had a friend with her named, Angelia. I kid you not. Pronounced Angela but still…..that’s pretty cool in my book.

Christy and Aiden.

From – Tales of the Toot. She is an incredible woman of faith and strength. It was an honor to meet them both.

Lance

From – Jungle of Life. I know Lance and his family are here to put a smile on your heart. They are just huge joy and I am so glad our paths crossed and we met in person. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any “live” pics (this time). You must check out his Sunday posts. They are divinely inspiring. Happy Father’s Day, Lance.

Lastly, I haven’t met her YET, but come this October, I will. I found my wedding photographer – right here in my first year of blogging. She visited my blog and that’s how we met.

Kellene

From – Bella Lucia Photography. Check out her blog and her pictures and tell me she is not mad talented. I can’t WAIT to hug her neck in person. I hope she doesn’t mind I borrowed her pic to showcase her.

I must thank Jason most of all, for coming into my life, and gifting me such wonderful things to blog about. For being my supporter, my subscriber, and even a commenter now and again. Without him, I would have never found this place, and never created this blog of memories, I so dearly love. I am very, very happy to see how far I have come, and how long I have accomplished blogging. What a great feeling. I wouldn’t trade a minute.

So thank you readers, bloggers, and friends, for sharing this first anniversary with me. Happy Father’s Day to you. Embrace all the love you can hold; hug a Dad today…..for me.