parenting. you’re doing it right.
Beyond cute omg
i thought it was cute and then i realised what was on the tv and i melted
look on the chair
That is so sweet.
My father would NEVER have done this. NEVER.
My sister’s husband, on the other hand, probably would for his daughters (who are currently 5 and 2)
Great Quick Story:
A Little Girl Wanted to go to Disneyland to Meet Snow White. This little girl believed Snow White would help her make her dream come true. Her Dream was to see her Daddy come home from Afghanistan doing his tour in the Marines.
She met Snow White who took her to the Wishing Well and Snow White told her to make her wish and close her eyes and wish real strong…. When she opened up her eyes, her Daddy Magically appeared.
No Better place to make this happen than Disneyland.
IM NOT CRYING
eyes, stop doing that weird leaking thing you do. It’s really inconvenient!
Make a wish into the well
that’s all you have to do.
And if you hear it echoing
your wish will soon come true.
for the one I love
to find me,
(to find me)
and I’m dreaming of
The nice things,
(the nice things)
I graduated High School this week. When my Dad said he had a present for me I thought I was getting some cheesy graduation card. But what I received was something truly priceless.
Following the ceremony he handed me a bag with a copy of Oh the Places You’ll Go, by Doctor Seuss inside. At first I just smiled and said that it meant a lot and that I loved that book. But then he told me “No, open it up.”
…On the first page I see a short paragraph written by none other than my kindergarten teacher. I start tearing up but I’m still confused.
He tells me “Every year, for the past 13 years, since the day you started kindergarten I’ve gotten every teacher, coach, and principal to write a little something about you inside this book.”
He managed to keep this book a secret for 13 years, and apparently everyone else in my life knew about it!
Yes the intended effect occured… I burst out in tears. Sitting there reading through this book there are encouraging and sweet words from every teacher I love and remember through my years in this small town. My early teachers mention my “Pigtails and giggles,” while my high school teachers mention my “Wit and sharp thinking..” But they all mention my humor and love for life.
is astounding to receive something this moving, touching, nostalgic, and thoughtful. I can’t express how much I love my Dad for this labor of love.
It’s 3:30 a.m. I’m the only one in my house who’s still awake because I had the poor judgement to take a nap when I got home from work, so my sleep schedule is still fucked up from daylight savings time.
A couple minutes ago, I started hearing a moaning noise that kinda freaked me out because it’s 3 a.m. and I’m essentially by myself. Since the sounds reminded me of the coughs and groans that my Dad used to make in his sleep, my brain immediately jumped to the entirely rational explanation that Dad did not care for my confession to him on his deathbed that he raised a lesbian, feminist, yellow-dog democrat and his ghost has come back from the great beyond to try to argue the merits of Reaganomics with me. Which is truly frightening.
But then I realized that one of my cats was asleep on my bed, lying on his back with his tongue sticking out a bit. It seems that the noise I was hearing was actually him exhaling and his tongue vibrating from the air output. I could also deduce that he was in the middle of a dream, because he hadn’t even bothered to close his eyes all the way and they were moving rapidly in his head. The whole thing was kind of grotesque and hilarious; I wish I’d gotten a picture of it but he very abruptly woke up and regained his composure before I could get my camera.
I really have no idea why I felt the need to make a note of all of this. I think I need to go to bed now.
…Still gonna keep my eye out for Dad’s ghost. That would be like him to show up in the middle of the night and want to have a long, drawn-out conversation about history and politics, which would be fascinating but dammit Daddy I have to get up for school in like five hours…
All the little boy was going to ask Santa for was his father to come back from Iraq. Little did he know, his wish would come true and his father was right behind Santa.
Oh my gosh.
Sorry for the overall lack of posts in the last couple days; last weekend was a bit hectic because Dad’s memorial service was on Saturday. The whole thing was a bit odd in several ways:
1.) The one thing we kept emphasizing over and over again was that this was not a funeral. It was a memorial service. Funerals are somber events; serious and dour. Mom was very clear from the beginning that she wanted a celebration of Dad’s life, light-hearted and optimistic. So, first order of business: we told everyone to please not wear black; casual/comfortable clothes were all that we asked for, and a joke that my sister cracked a couple weeks ago led to most of the men in my church wearing Hawaiian shirts.
2.) A lot people showed up, more than we expected. All of our friends and our church family were there, but some of Mom’s family members—a few of whom I haven’t seen in more than a decade—were also in attendance, as well as old friends that we’d nearly lost contact with. It was actually really touching that so many people came to give their sincere condolences and reflect on Dad’s life.
3.) Charlotte was in charge of making a slide show of pictures of Dad and the family over the years. The good news is that she had a ton of material to work with, since Dad had practically been obsessed with documenting every minor thing in our lives. The final count was, I think, 114 individual pictures that covered a timespan of almost 50 years. Meanwhile, my job was to collect the music that would play before the service and in the background during the post-service luncheon at my house. We all picked out songs that Dad really liked and songs that reminded us of him. I’ll probably post the track listing sometime, but suffice to say that it was 30+ songs of all different genres.
The service was nice. Our pastor’s whole sermon was essentially the same sermon that you hear at any funeral/memorial: lots of “we cherished ___ in life” and “___ is in a better place” and “it’s okay to feel sad,” with an added “the strength and love of ____ and his family throughout ____’s illness is an inspiration to us all” thrown in for flavor. He then asked if anyone would like to get up and speak, and a handful of people—including a couple that I hadn’t expected to hear from—did just that, telling their favorite stories about Dad. When my brother got up and told a story, I felt like I needed to, as well, so I told them one of my cherished memories:
When I was in third grade, my classmates and I were assigned a project for science class: build a model of our solar system. My Dad was unemployed at the time and doing the “Mr. Mom” thing (his words), so he decided that he would be the designated parent to help me with this project. Now, building a model solar system is a generic and common enough project that hobby/craft stores often stock “instant science project” kits that include everything you need, all the right size, just add a little acrylic paint for flair. I’m certain that a bunch of my classmates and their parents bought those kits, did a sloppy paint job, and called it a day.
Not me and Dad. Oh, no no no. He and I researched the relative sizes of the planets, bought Styrofoam balls of varying sizes, and partially crushed some of them because some of the planets were between the available sizes. We spent a ridiculous amount of time looking up color pictures of the planets and meticulously painting each Styrofoam ball. To make the rings of Saturn, we put a paper plate on a record turn-table and gave it a spin while holding markers of different colors against the the plate. Because presentation was a big part of the grade, we got the biggest box we could find, covered it with sheets of black construction paper we’d glued silver, red, and blue glitter to (stars), and suspended the planets with fishing wire so that, from a distance, they looked like they were floating. Instead of lining them all up, we staggered them to simulate their orbit around the sun. The night before the project was due, when we were doing our final touches, Dad accidentally sat on Mars and we had to remake it quickly.
As I explained to the people at the service—who were laughing at the ridiculous lengths that Dad and I had gone through to make this project awesome—I was very sure that my teacher thought that my parents had done the project for me. But that was completely untrue: I painted those planets myself, I glued the glitter on the construction paper, and suspending them with fishing wire was my idea. Dad was there to help me with my research and do the technical stuff that I couldn’t do myself (calculate how big each planet should be, hang the planets, figure out the angle of the orbits, etc), and above all, keep me motivated and on track. He knew that I was capable of doing so much more than half-assed job the night before my deadline. That solar system was the project by which all subsequent school projects were judged by, and the one that impressed upon me the importance of putting your heart and soul into your projects in hopes of making something truly amazing.
That solar system stood proudly in the foyer of our house for quite some time until we noticed that the sunlight was causing the construction paper to fade. At that point, we decided to dismantle it, box up the planets (and a couple pieces of sparkly black paper) and put it up in the attic in hopes that at least the components would stay nice. Every so often, when I’m in the attic, I see the box labeled “Christine Solar System, 1999” and I…
That was the point in the story that I got choked up and couldn’t speak. I’d been weeping on-and-off throughout the service but that was the first time that I’d truly broken down. Just thinking about those days, and my childhood, and how Dad was before he got sick…it was too much. I tried to finish my story and make my final point, that my Dad taught me to strive my hardest and always do my absolute best at everything I did when he showed me that it was possible to put an incredible galaxy inside a box, but I’m not sure if anyone understood what I was trying to say. So I just closed with, “I’m going to miss him so much. Thank you,” and I sat back down.
I was kind of embarrassed that my siblings managed to get through their stories about Dad without being overcome with emotion; both got sniffly and their eyes glistened a bit but they didn’t stop. The more I think about it, though, the less I care; it’s a goddamn memorial service for my father and I cried because I fucking felt like it.
After the service, most of the people who attended came back to our house for potluck lunch. It was nice to chitchat and eat with everyone, kinda stressful because at first the music wasn’t working and I had to fix it, fun because it was nice to be surrounded by family and friends, and exhausting because by this point, I was ready to take off my nice dress, throw on some sweatpants, and settle in for the afternoon. And while Abby got to spend the day at doggy day camp, my cats spent the day hiding in my room in terror because OMG PEOPLE IN THE HOUSE and my rat got a little stressed out because I kept getting her out of her cage to show her to people who’d never seen a pet rat before or people who already knew her and wanted to see her. But Catherine and Grissom got new toys to play with in my room and Olivia got plenty of treats (yogurt chips & veggies) and cuddles, and I’m happy to report that nobody is any worse for wear.
That afternoon, after most everyone had left, my family, plus Mary Lou (Mom’s best friend), Lauren and David (my two best friends), and David’s Dad hung around to socialize more and help make mini pies, which was delightful for everyone involved. Mary Lou, Lauren, and the extended family left at about 6 p.m….but then one of my Mom’s co-workers who’d been stuck at work all day showed up to see us, and she stayed long after everyone else had gone home. The end result was that my day had begun at 8:30 in the morning, and I hadn’t had a chance to truly relax until 10 p.m.
Dad’s been gone for about five weeks now. I said in my post on August 20th that my family and I were all trying to adjust and find a new normal; one that didn’t revolve around Dad and taking care of him. Well, by now…we have, really. We’re all back at work and hanging out with friends and doing our own thing, and now that the memorial—this big event that’s been looming over us for weeks—is over with, we all feel like a chapter of our lives is over and we’re free to move on to the next one.
That’s not to say, though, that we’re all completely over this. There are still times that I’ll be outside the house and think that I have to be home by 5:00 so Dad’s caregiver can go home…and then I remember that no, I can actually stay out as late as I want. Sometimes at night I’ll hear a noise and think that it’s Dad snoring or shifting in his bed, and then I’ll realize that that’s not possible. And there are some days when something will remind me of Dad or I’ll just think of it completely out of the blue, and I’ll feel very sad.
But…I don’t think that I’ll ever be 100% over it; I don’t think that that’s how death and grieving work. I will always miss Dad, there’s no doubt about that, and I think that the next few birthdays, holidays, and special events in my family will be difficult because he won’t be with us. Mom’s birthday is next Saturday; I’m anxious to see how that goes…
I could ramble on forever, so I guess I should wrap this up. So, in conclusion… the memorial went well, it was really nice to see my extended family and old friends, my family is fine, I’m doing fine, and all of us are rolling with the punches and taking the days as they come.
So…business as usual, really.
But I really feel like playing “Another One Bites the Dust” at his memorial service would be in poor taste.
Sorry, Daddy; I’ll use “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Killer Queen” instead…
Dad passed away last night. Time of death was 11:19 p.m.
The important thing is that he didn’t suffer; he seemed comfortable and when it happened, he was surrounded by his family. And the fortunate thing was that, at the time, none of us realized that Charlotte hadn’t yet had a moment alone with him to say her final goodbyes and make her peace. She was able to do so after she got home from work, and within a couple minutes of her finishing up…he was gone.
So…was he waiting for her to get home so that all of us could be there? Was he just waiting for Charlotte to say goodbye? Was it God’s will, or just a freak coincidence? I don’t know. I guess I’ll never know.
The good thing was that my Mom’s best friend was there with us when it happened; Mary Lou used to be an E.R. nurse so when she saw him in his last few minutes, she knew that the end was immanent and she stalled her exit so that she could be there to help. So, while she called hospice and dealt with them, Mom, Stephen, Charlotte, and I just got to sit in the room with Dad’s body. We talked and we cried and kidded around; that last one may be a bit strange, but that’s how we’ve always been and it’s how we always handle things.
I had to make three phone calls last night; I’d promised Lauren, Jenny, and David individually that I’d call them if anything happened. Unfortunately, just because I had to do it three times didn’t make it any easier, and the conversation was pretty much the same every time: I’d call, they’d answer and ask what was up, I’d say that Dad was dead, they’d say they were sorry, I’d start recapping all that had happened that night and then break down sobbing, they’d listen to me cry for a bit, I’d manage to tell a little bit more of the story and admit that I didn’t know what was going to happen next, they’d encourage me to not worry about going in to work the next morning and to try to get some rest, I’d say I would try, they’d tell me that they love me and please, please call them in the morning if I want to talk, and to not hesitate to let them know if I or my family needs anything.
And I did end up not going to work after all; I called four hours before my shift was supposed to start and explained to the opening manager (to whom my GM had apparently already explained my situation) that Dad had passed away the night before and I didn’t feel up to coming in. He reassured me that it was no problem and he’d get someone to cover me. It turns out that I was already scheduled off on Sunday and Monday, so we agreed that I’d try to come back on Tuesday. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be ready to go back by then…not truly positive, but it’s hard to know in this situation.
My family spent the day taking it easy; my brother went off to hang out with a friend and I haven’t seen him since this morning. Charlotte decided that she was going to work. Mom and I were going to go to Wal Mart just because we felt like we needed to do something normal. Charlotte didn’t last very long at work, so she ended up coming home and going shopping with us. Stephen needed to be with his bro, but I think that Mom, Char, and I needed to be with each other.
All day, I’ve randomly switched between being okay and not doing well. I’ll be fine for a while, and then something little will set me off: Charlotte asked if I knew where her iPod was, and, without thinking, I replied back, “It’s in Dad’s room.” When we were at Wal Mart, we didn’t have to buy yogurt or applesauce, two things that we always had to buy because they were easy for Dad to eat. When we were putting leftovers from dinner away, I realized that I could put some containers on the refrigerator shelf that we reserved for Dad’s food and chilled medication. And every single time I walk past “Dad’s room,” I expect to see him in there. The second and the third one caused a lump to rise up in my throat, and the first and fourth ones actually reduced me to tears.
The good news is that we have an excellent support system; all day, we’ve had friends stopping by to visit, bearing words of encouragement and comfort food, or just calling to assure us that they’re here for us if we need them. Jenny brought Zane over and I got to chase him around and play with him and introduce him to Olivia; that whole encounter was especially nice because having fun and chatting with them let me laugh and have fun and forget how sad I am.
The thing that keeps getting to me is that there was all this crazy shit in my life relating to Dad’s illness that I came to see as normal, like him being sick, his caregiver being here five days a week, hospice workers visiting the house, and my family having to plan our lives and schedules around his care. And now that he’s gone…things will never be “normal” again. Yes, eventually, we’ll all find a new normal, but things are going to be so dramatically different from here on out…it’s just very hard to comprehend it all.
We’re all going to be okay; years of taking care of Dad and dealing with the situation has taught us to be strong and roll with the punches. But none of us are quite there yet. Including me.