When I was little I remember this very intense conversation with my father where I was trying to convince him that my bike did not need to progress to a bike without training wheels, because basically I was an expert at my bike with training wheels. I remember my dad just laughed as I made my case, but he instead made the point that I couldn't have training wheels on my bike forever, I would be the laughing stock of town, so I dubiously agreed to the removal of my beloved training wheels.
I remember how utterly terrified I was to ride my bike. My bike was this beautiful light pink Scwhinn with a banana seat and streamers on the handle bars. It was utterly perfect. Yet, minus my training wheels I was a huge skeptic. I remember my dad told me he would hold on the whole time, catch me if I was going to fall. I trusted him more than anyone in this world. Thus, I remember how I wobbled to and fro as I started peddling, how he caught me before I was about to fall, and helped me avoid major catastrophe. Then before I knew it I looked back in the distance and realized I was peddling all alone with no assist, and my dad was just there waving in the distance.
I have thought about this memory a lot over the last year. You see my dad was always there for me. He was silently and quitely always making sure I didn't fall. He was the person I was frantically calling when I didn't know what exit to take on the highway, the man in my life who loved when I didn't love myself, the person always reassuring me that I could do anything. Yet when my father passed away I felt like that same little girl riding here bike alone, a bit wobbly for sure, terrified, and wondering who would help her break her fall.
If I could tell you anything, It would be that there is not a day that goes by that I don't want to pick up the phone and call my dad. Whether it is just to tell him about this great restaurant I ate at the night before, or the great OR case I did, or just to say I love you; these are the things I miss. I will be honest sometimes I call our house in the middle of the day when I know no one is home just to hear his voice on our home recorder.Yet, what I have learned from my father and this experience has forever changed the way I approached the last year and ultimately the rest of my life.
I have learned that I am stronger than I ever imagined. That living through this experience has made any other obstacle in my life look miniscule. I have experienced and seen love in ways I have never imagined. It has changed me and my heart. It has made my mother and I closer. I tell people that I love them often and much. I sing in the car at every opportunity. I drink beaujolais and have warm memories of Christmas day with my dad. I am a more empathetic doctor. I give better hugs.
You know I think we all remember the big days, the extraordinary days, but if I had one more day with my father I would want it to be just an ordinary day. The ones where you sit on the back porch eating dinner, the ones where you watch movies on the couch, or the ones where you are singing at the top of your lungs in your car to Jimmy Buffet. These are days I long for- the ever so ordinary.
While I am the queen of composure, there are the moments of immense sadness for me when I think about the things, he is going to miss.The grandchildren, retirement, and finally me having a real job.Yet, one of the things that has been hardest for me to cope with is the fact that he won't see me get married. Don't worry I have no current prospects in the works, much to my mother's dismay, but hopefully someday. Yet, I still cannot help but cry at every wedding I been to this year, when the father and daughter walk down the aisle. I will without a doubt be walking down the aisle alone, because there is no one who could ever fill his shoes.
Yet, the thing that gives me peace is that I loved my father and he loved me. We had such a special relationship, he was my best friend. I feel so truly blessed to have had the time we did together. I know more than anything he wanted me to be happy, to love, and to explore this world. I am actively working on accomplishing all of these tasks. This Father's day I hope you are celebrating. I hope you are laughing. I hope you are eating delicious brunch. I hope you are celebrating the man who has made you who you are today. I know I am.
From the bottom of my heart I wish you the happiest Father's Day! XOXO jen*