There is a story, for every day, of every year past.

Do you remember this time last year? What you were doing? Where you were going?

Do you have days when you realize…..Wow, that was a YEAR ago…….really? It stuns you.

You can’t believe the time has flown by, that it’s December, almost Christmas and New Year’s (again).

I have glimpses of those years past all the time. Maybe, it’s just having a good memory, or from the photos I take.

For instance, I came across this photo.

Two years ago, bowling with a broken right hand.

This was at the end of the seven weeks casted at my friend Karen’s birthday party. My cast was pretty grimy and I had (almost) mastered being a one-handed (with a non-dominate left hand) typer, writer, hair washer, and eater extraordinaire. Amazing what you can do when you have to. However, my bowling was not so hot – at all. I always remember my cast this time of year, because I could NOT put up the tree one-handed.

Last Thanksgiving, this is what the girls looked like together. Crazy cute, right?


This year.

Still crazy cute!

What’s funny about this is Brownie. Last year, Molly had a death grip on Fred; my mom’s Shih-tzu and our love of Fred is the reason we ended up getting Brownie Poo in July.

Molly holding Fred.

Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday. His last birthday.

A year ago today, was the last day I hugged my dad, and kissed his cheek.

We drove to Ada on Saturday. Sydney made her first loooong driving trip in the driver’s seat under our supervision (notice I was in the backseat). She was fifteen with her freshly printed permit.

Sydney with only her drivers permit driving to Oklahoma.

She did very, very good. We drove straight to the hospital where dad had checked himself in about a week or so before. He had a hernia that perforated part of his bowel and they had done surgery. I had talked to him on the phone, his birthday, and he sounded pretty weak. But fact is, he had worse things happen health-wise in his life. This wasn’t anything. But…in all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, I opted to just stop, and spend the day traveling to Oklahoma to see him. Just in case. IF something happened, I didn’t want to have any regrets, or I should haves….

We arrived to his room and he looked a little more worn than I expected, but better than what he had sounded on the phone. He did look older. Jason, Sydney, and I sat and visited for a while. I don’t like hospitals. I, especially, don’t like Valley View. My grandpa died there, my second cousin, my step-dad…..I just don’t like the place. The only thing good from Valley View was the memory of seeing my favorite aunt, dad’s sister, there. She used to work at the front desk and as a crazy teen I would stop by to see her. But she had moved to Houston many, many years ago.

Dad was watching football.

Dad was a man with nine and half-lives.

Dad was going to be fine.

I left the hospital room with a squeeze and a kiss fully knowing, I would see him again. At home, in front of his big screen TV, watching OU, with his trusty Buddy dog at his side.

We went to the local Mexican food place for my fill of queso with mushrooms from Polo’s. The only place that makes it just the way I looooves it. When we go to pay, I realize, I don’t have my purse. Now, you know what happens when a girl realizes she doesn’t have her purse, and all her worldly possessions on her persons.

Yeah.

It’s panic mode. I searched the car, the restaurant, the sidewalk……everywhere….and came up with only ONE place it could be. My dad’s hospital room.

Huh.

Isn’t that strange? Because, I never lose my purse. Or forget it.

Never.

At first, I was a little irritated. We had said good-bye already. We were ready to hit the road for the long three hours of driving. What was this?

Then, I gathered my thoughts. I listened to my instincts. One thing I wished I had done was brought dad a present, or a card. In our rush, we had just taken off from Texas and came to the room empty-handed. So we went to the local Wal-Mart and I shopped for my dad’s Christmas. I shopped to cheer him up in that dreary white-walled hospital room. And I brought him his favorite things – OU stuff.

I also, picked up a Christmas fern plant in substitute for a Christmas tree, just in case, he was stuck there until close to Christmas.

Dad's OU blanket and Christmas fern.

He brightened up when we returned. It wasn’t just the gifts either. It was the surprise, the second visit in a day. I didn’t even mention my purse sitting on the empty hospital bed in his room. He kept wanting me to hold his blanket up so he could see all the colors (he is color blind like me). Reds he DOES see. The furry bear guy – which I have no idea what he has to do with OU – reminded him of his Buddy dog. He loved it. He had me lay it out on the bed next to where he was sitting. We admired the blanket. We admired the Christmas fern. We watched some football together, talked, and laughed. I left happy I had gone back. I needed that time and his smiles. No regrets. I knew, I just knew, he was going to be fine and recover – like always.

Dad passed away about midnight the next day of major heart failure.

My last-minute trip to Oklahoma. My return to that hospital room. It was no accident. It was a gift. My Christmas gift. From God, from dad, from the world of father’s and daughter’s. It was my last good-bye. My last memory.

Oh, how I cherish my favorite blanket.

Merry Christmas Dad. I miss you. I remember this day…has it really been a year?…and I’ll never forget it.