Wednesday, May 2, 2012

One Year Later an Unveiling

My father, the man whom we buried just over a year ago was a very special man. There was once upon a time when I took this for granted. He was vibrant, full of life, driven to make a difference, caring, sympathetic. He was one in a few of those darn people whom got it all.

He had it all, yes, he was definitely a good looking man, but as I am trying to teach my children, and he hoped to teach me, beauty seeps through from the inside out. Thus, he was not just a good looking man, but more like a hot stud.

Though a stud, he was a little man. Size did not matter in this case. He left huge imprints wherever he roamed. And roam he did. My dad’s journey allowed him to connect with an abundance of good people. Each of these persons meant something special to my father. Whether it be the waiter or waitress having a bad day at work, an employee, or his family, he took time to connect. I remember many times, our waiter or waitress joined us for a drink while we ordered dinner, an employee on our couch for the night, and too many times to count my father putting everything else on the backburner to take care of me.

He continued to care for the world after that fateful day when the last years of his life began. I often asked myself why? Why my father, the man whom mastered the art of living life.

Day to day life changed, as a result my father’s forced retirement turned into many days spent hanging with family.

Family!!!! He preached, yes, preached about family being everything. So, again why the hell did my dad need to have a stroke to learn that family is everything? Those last years are precious memories, a time when things slowed down, and all the lessons my father lived out daily began to come to fruition for me.

Blind, stuttering, barely able to walk, and he would answer to peoples’, “Hello’s”, with, “I am doing wonderful! How are you?” A simple walk down the street, meant handfuls of ”How are yous?”, from local business owners accompanied by hugs and pats on the back. He knew these people and not because he spent millions keeping their business afloat but because he took the time to connect. Because he cared about personal relationships. Title, position, name, color, none of that mattered to him, it was all about humanity. What a beautiful way to live. He made the choice to see the good, he did not overlook the not so good, he encouraged one to turn the not so good, into something great.

Those evenings when he asked the waiters or waitress if he/she was having a bad night, or asked the employee to stay for the night as opposed to sleeping in his or her car, or the countless times he took my phone calls in the midst of his busy day, he did so without judgment. He understood that the waiter or waitress’ grouchiness did not define him or her, that the employee who needed a couch was in a temporary situation, he believed he or she would move up and out, and that his daughter was just having a moment. He understood that mistakes may have led to those current states, but that state was not whom we were. I feel honored to have been raised by such a man.

That fateful day when the clock struck one, and life as we once knew it crumbled, to reveal many many unknowns, well it was a true testament to whom my father was. He proved to be not just a hot stud, but a rock hard hot stud.

He held onto his patriarch title and made sure that we held together as a family, he continued to leave his imprints around town, and he continued to live the life of his word.

Family is everything, you will be lucky to have a few friends. If I instill nothing else in you, it will be to have respect and to be kind and to remember family is everything.

My dad will never know how many beautiful imprints he left me with, all of you, and many others out there by simply living his life.

Recently the past years have  been full of family. Of course he was right, he was pretty much right about everything he told me. And as my kind husband reminded me last night he would chuckle with a twinkle in his eye saying I told you so without saying so.

Wherever he may be right now he is doing just that.

Thank you family. Thank you family for showing up, just as my father said you would.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One year ago today…

We were visiting my father, my kiddos grandfather. I had come down to spend a bit of quiet time with my parents, bringing just my littlest of the crew.  Sometimes, all of us was a bit overwhelming for my father and in turn all of us. I had already been down for a few days and  my husband and the rest of the bunch were to be joining us later in the day.

It was a sunny day. We awoke just like any other, baby wide eyed ready to party, momma groggily making her way down the stairs to pour some much needed caffeine.

The night had been rough, listening to my father struggle. He struggled, to sleep, he struggled to talk, he struggled to walk, he just plain struggled.

Papa and Nana having been awake for awhile were already gathered around the table. Upon our arrival, without question smiles broke out and morning hugs were shared, just the way it had always been, for as a long as I can remember. Our family loved to  gather around the table morning, noon and night. A place to share meals, conversation, and love. Because Papa no longer was able to cook, Nana got right to making breakfast, as you were never to be hungry in his home.  As the house filled with the smell of pancakes and eggs we chatted amongst ourselves and discussed where our day might take us. We decided on a nice long walk, our usual walk, the walk we always took with each of our visits to Papa and Nana’s house. Down to a local coffee shop, along the beach, up the hill to Nana and Papa’s we would go.

Zari ate panacakers, my parents favorite to make, as the kids loved them, and nothing made my parents happier than to see someone enjoy their cooking. Papa and I lazily sipped coffee and read the paper, well he did his best and I did my best to share with him what I was reading. He could no longer see well enough to read, he could no longer speak back to me. I smiled and looked into his eyes, wanting him to know it was ok, I understood what he wanted to tell me, but the words could no longer be spoken. It was terribly frustrating for him, it pained me to see him so.

Gathering for our walk was something straight out of a comic book I tell you. My mother and I trying our very hardest to allow him the freedom to be, as he so very much wanted, but knowing that too much could be catastrophic. Barely able to support himself, yet wanting so very much to walk on his own, just like a newly walking toddler, but oh so very much bigger. A fully grown man wanting his independence, fighting for his independence. After much time Papa was settled in his wheelchair, holding onto his cane for his dear life, his hope to walk, his hope to continue on his journey, his hope to heal, his hope to become independent. We strolled for a long while, Zari hopping along beside him, he would ever so gently rub her head in love, his smile said everything he could not. He loved her, he loved all of his grandchildren.

While en route to the coffee shop my husband called to let me know he had left later than he wanted, after spending the morning trying to fix a blown out breaker to our home. My dad overhearing much of our conversation, wanted ever so badly to help me. He wanted to tell me how to fix the breaker. I remember so vividly how bright his eyes shone upon being able to possibly help his daughter. He would smile and use hand gestures to create what he wanted to tell me. We went over and over this silent conversation for a good two hours. I smiling and looking into his eyes as he motioned how I was to tell Jason to go out to the breaker box, flip the breakers, and than wa-la, all would be fixed. Oh my dad, how he loved to help me, how he loved to help everyone.

We shared a coffee over this silent conversation, read a bit more in the local papers, and basked in the sun. How how my father loved the sun.

We continued on our walk, along the beach path, where My mom and I pushed Zari and my father side by side. He again would glance over and gently rub Zari affectionately atop her head of curls. She would smile, I would smile, my mother would smile.

This story shall be continued tomorrow…please check back if you feel so inclined.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A son, a teacher, and a reminder…


My boy, the kid whom has literally rocked my world from conception, never ceases to stop from keeping me a swaying. Momma had a rather do’zie of a day, ya’ know when ya’ gots a 3 year old, days are beautiful but my oh my are they tiresome. That little gal up there, the one that is smiling and giggling amongst the rest of us whom are obligingly partaking in the family pictures, yeah, well she is 3 and she don’t want to. But do ya’ see that? That awesome older bro of hers, getting her to smile, giggle, and would ya’ look at that even sit still for long enough to get in a snap shot or two that will forever  melt this momma’s heart.

I want to remember the picturesque moments, you does not? I also want to remember the moments that are fleeting, that in our busy days come and go so quickly that if I do not force myself to make eye contact and really listen I might just of lost a moment to really connect.

The kids and I were throwing on jammies, getting ready to settle in for the night. This moment always seems to be one of a pleasant sort of chaos, each kiddo is needing/ wanting something, they are tired, I am tired, it is lovely but crazy. Amidst this dance, as I am pulling pants on one of my girls, and turning to begin dressing another, Nishan looks up at me to begin speaking. Mind you I have asked him at least 5 times in 1 minute to please get socks on, so my patience level is running thin, lucky for me the deep breath I inhaled stopped me from spewing venom and allowed him to share this, “Mom, I was thinking and I really, really need you and dad.” I immediately stopped what I was doing and looked straight into his big brown eyes, motioning for him to go on, that he had my full, undivided attention. And he went on to share, “You know I get angry sometimes, but that is on the outside, on the inside I really, really love you and need you.”

And these are the moments that get lost to easily in the busyness of our lives.