Happy birthday Dad.
Though this week offered many new beginnings and transitions for my family, time for the most part felt like it was moving slowly. So slow in fact, that I almost lost track of the date. Today happens to be an important one. It is my Dad’s birthday, though he has not been with us for ten years now. It still feels a bit surreal when I think of it. His presence was alive for me in many ways for so long. He continues to live on through me and my girls: a thread of inherited perspectives, habits, genetics, memories, some unchanged, others vastly different.
This morning as I was dropping my sixth grader off to school, I had this achy feeling that life was moving fast. It was ironic as my week had felt unhurried and balanced. I still wish my Dad could have enjoyed his grand girls. I know he would have loved seeing them grow up. Though that may not have been his fate in this life, I know that his essence lives on. I don’t mean only through what he has handed down to us, but through an essence that is so vast that it never dies, because it was never born. It is here always, though I cannot see, touch or hear it. This is only lightly comforting to the part of me that wishes he was still here physically to enjoy the fruits of his life. Sometimes the grief of loss can feel fresh like it happened yesterday. Perhaps it is because it takes time to fully embrace the loss at all or that the nature of what is lost is changing.
In celebration of my Dad, there are some things I remember very fondly. I remember how he used to play soccer with me in the backyard of our first house. We would play keep away and I was always impressed by his skill. For some reason, I thought engineers would not make for good soccer players. That was not true with my Dad. He even substitute coached my league teams when needed. He had this very silly and goofy way of offering affection to my sister and I. He would place his hand across our face and scrunch our skin. He did this into our adult years, as our age did not seem to matter to him. It was a sweet way of affection. When we would return home from college or travels, he would wait for us at the airport with arms raised in the air, flailing side to side. My Dad was a man of small stature, so you can imagine the scene. I still smile when the image comes to me. He was a great story teller, and though I may not have always taken interest, I began to listen and appreciate them more as I grew up. A man who at times could have a vivid temper, my Dad supported me unconditionally in the moments I needed it most. Those moments left me in awe and gratitude. I could continue further, but I think I will linger here for some time. This seems to be a nice place to pause and just Be with a feeling of gratitude and whatever else may show up today.
Happy Birthday Dad.