The first week in October is always hard. My dad’s birthday was October 4 and it always makes me feel a little blue, though this is Daddy’s 15th birthday in Heaven.
He loved my daughters deeply and cherished his time with them. They are now 15 and 19, yet his earthly life with them stopped when Elizabeth was a new preschool graduate about to enter Kindergarten and Sara Ann was a happy one-year-old with beautiful dark eyes who took her first steps a mere month before he died. He was strong, with a gentle and protective way of loving my girls that is one of the things I miss the very most about him.
He taught me so much — over the next few days I’m going to share some of those things, as there are too many for just one day.
- Never buy the one in front. He would get up early on our wekeends at our lakehouse in Arkansas and Elizabeth and her Dada would go to Wal-Mart. Months later, after I had bought some defective product, which I had picked up in haste, she reminded me, “I knew that would happen. You broke Dada’s rule. Never buy the one in front.” To this day, Elizabeth will reach to the far back of the shelf to avoid the one in front.
- Pay attention to things. Sometimes we are so busy running to and fro that we don’t pay attention to things around us. On another one of Elizabeth and Dada’s early morning Wal-Mart trips, he had shown her how the the early morning dew sparkles on the grass. She still remembers the “sparklies,” and, at 19, still remembers the moment. Great moments often come when we pay attention to small things.
- Don’t be afraid to feel. My dad was deeply emotional. He was not afraid to feel and not afraid to express it. He could never say the blessing at Christmas or Thanksgiving without choking up and making everyone else cry too. When he hurt, he hurt deeply, but his joy was deep.
- Good things come to those who wait. He often drove us crazy moving slowly and taking his time making decisions or major purchases, but he taught us that the best things don’t come quickly or easily and are always worth waiting for.
More tomorrow as I remember him throughout the week.