Where do I start? How about the inspiration for this post. Sometimes something so random hits you so hard, it brings back a distant memory as if it were yesterday. We were going to the beach today and we went into the warehouse to get your boogie board and a raft caught my eye. A raft we’ve had for about 100 years. But today it caught my eye. Today…the day before Father’s Day. Today it made me feel like I was 13 years old again and playing in the ocean with my dad.
I always write about my love for you and how you’ve made my life better, but I have to admit that when it comes to Daddy, I’m nooooo comparison. This I know. And I’m okay with it because I also know you have an incredible daddy. I give myself credit for two things in my life: you and your daddy. I found the best husband and had the best son. My life really began when I met your daddy and then it amazingly got even better when I had you. I’m so grateful every day I wake up and see the two of you, usually peacefully sleeping as I sneak out the door to work.
(notice the blue raft)
(Daddy feeding you your first pear, which both of you love for a snack.)
You are so blessed with his love, as am I. And I’m so happy for you. You couldn’t have a better daddy. I was a daddy’s girl, so I know. I get it. My dad was incredible too. Maybe because I had such an incredible dad, he gave me the role model for finding yours. Moms are home. They love us and nurture us and take care of everything. They hold it all together. Being a mom is hands-down the most important thing I do. Ever. But a dad. A dad, when present and involved, is a force to be reckoned with. They bring something a mom can not. Your daddy, like mine, brings peace and clarity. I try every single day to do my best, but end up screwing most everything up and try again the next day, but repeat the process of screw ups. Your dad, well he does it all so naturally. I’ve learned so much about parenting from him. Not a book or a website or even other moms. From your daddy. He lives and loves wholeheartedly and believes in living by example. Again, I could be talking about my own dad here. The only thing your daddy ever worries about is health. He tells me, “Health is king.” Which always brings me to pause because my dad, your grandpa, always told me, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Unfortunately, my dad was speaking from experience. He was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 5 years old. When I was going to Kindergarten, he was going to Johns Hopkins. As a child, I spent many weekends sitting in his hospital bathroom coloring and eating popsicles the nurses would bring me because if I stayed in my dad’s room I had to wear a mask. He went to Johns Hopkins because in the 1970′s that’s who was doing the cancer research and they were trying chemotherapy for the first time. My dad was part of the experiment. While he did survive, against the odds, he was left with many other health concerns. Heart problems and eventually diabetes. As an adult I spent too many weekends in his hospital room as he recovered from heart surgery. I spent afternoons watching him hooked up to a dialysis machine that he absolutely hated. And I hated it for him. He later lived with an oxygen tank that he checked on every few minutes. I’m telling you all of this because your grandpa was a fighter. He had health obstacles thrown his way my entire life and I watched as he always quietly and gracefully, but fiercely fought every step of the way. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. And with a smile and a wink. Your daddy didn’t have any health related experiences like this in his family growing up, he’s just wise. Another reminder to me how very similar these two men in my life are and another reminder of how very lucky I am to have been loved by both of them.
(I specifically remember him saying, “I have everything I need right here.” Side note: he was visiting and was in the room that is now yours.)
I’m always almost brought to tears that you never knew my dad, but you have him in you. I know you do. I feel it. Thankfully you have a beautiful relationship with your Poppy. Grammy and Poppy retired and moved here when you were born. I can’t imagine it any other way. They have been a huge source of happiness for you. When you were a baby, I honestly believe they took better care of you than I did. You always have been Poppy’s best buddy. You two are almost too much alike sometimes. Bossy and know-it-alls! We wouldn’t have it any other way though. While Poppy is as tough as nails, he has a golden heart. A few years ago you decided you didn’t want to go to their house during the day anymore, so Poppy would come here. Then your daddy got the brilliant idea to open a gun shop for Poppy to run since they are collectors and now it’s like the Boys Club over in daddy’s office. You spend your days with daddy and Poppy. I don’t think it gets any better than that.
All I want is for you to be happy and healthy. When I look at the relationships you’ve built with the men in your life, I’m so deeply moved. It inspires me. I see strength and tenderness. I see honesty and compassion. I see laughter and courage. I see a love and a bond I’ve never witnessed before. It’s poetic, really. Sometimes I just sit back and observe and in my heart I’m thrilled for you because I don’t know of any other 5 year old who has what you have. And I’m so excited for you because this beautiful groundwork has been laid. It’s been laid by 3 of the most amazing, wise men I have ever known. What you have in you is pure and powerful. If you decide to use it, no telling what you might do!
I love you too much.