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Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy

This blog post is a little different than my normal post.  I usually use my blog to post images from my sessions.  However, today I want to share something on my heart.  Today my daddy would have been 79 years old. He left this earth 20 years ago and when he left, the world around me dimmed.  I think we all know people who just stand out among others - people who seem to have a light around them that draws you in.  That was my daddy.  Everyone who knew him loved him and for a little girl who adored him - he was a rock that I relied upon.  There is hole in my heart that will never be filled.  I see a little of him in each of my children and that brings me joy.  I see him in my sister and that is such a blessing to me.  But most of all, I see him in my heart, and whenever I am stuck as a parent, I always try to think "what would my daddy have done?"

I want to share a few remembrances as well as a few lessons I have learned from my daddy.  As my friends and clients, I thank you for the indulgence of this post.

The things that stand out most in my memory and what daddy taught me:
  • Drinking "coffee" with daddy in our house in San Marcos when I was four years old.  I remember the kitchen and the colors and everything about that moment.  I felt so big to be drinking coffee with dad.  Funny how my coffee was white and his was black - but you don't think of those things at four years old.  You just know your dad thinks you are big enough to do what he is doing. 
  • The one time it snowed in San Marcos.  Daddy went up and down the streets collecting snow in a wheel barrow to build the biggest snow man ever.  He was three times as tall as me.  We got our pictures in the paper for that.  But you know what?  Daddy wasn't in the picture - only my friend Chris and me.  You see, as a parent, daddy was happy to help me achieve really cool things and stand aside without any credit. 
  • Daddy climbing under the baby grand piano to join me in playing barbies.  I made a huge house for them under there.  I would beg him to play barbies with me, but after about 5 minutes with his silly high pitched voice and the ridiculous scenarios he would think up for my barbies, I would send him on to something else.  Plus, he didn't like to change their outfits with me.  You know what though?  He always played when I asked, no matter how busy he was.  He always had time for me.
  •  Fast forward many years...I remember daddy was always "dieting".  He would eat only half a donut.  He might eat four halves at a time, but in his mind he had only eaten half. He would always leave one spoonful of anything in the refrigerator because then he hadn't eaten all of it.  It was so frustrating seeing the bowl of tuna salad, getting everything out to make the sandwich, and then finding one small spoonful left in the bowl.  It even made me laugh back then!  Most of all, I remember him bringing home a bag of candy and then handing it to me to hide from him so he wouldn't eat it.  Not an hour later he would ask me where I hid it and get mad at me for not telling him.  It may be a silly lesson, but I learned from him that if you don't have the willpower not to eat something, don't buy it at the store and bring it home.  It is easier to have willpower at the store than once it is in your house!
  • I remember the day NASA launched the first space shuttle.  We sat on the couch and watched the launch.  He was so excited that man could create something that could launch like a rocket into space and land like a plane.  Then years later, we sat on that very same couch and wept together over the astronauts that lost their lives in the Challenger accident.  You see, my dad had a tender heart.  He taught me that it is OK to grieve over sad things in the world.
  • I attended the University of Texas and lived at home to save my parents money.  I remember driving home from a night class one evening and passing by a homeless man who held a sign that said "I am hungry and will work for my food".  It was about 10pm and I was afraid to roll down the window to give him money.  But all the way home I kept thinking about that man and how he needed food to eat.  I came into the house sobbing.  My daddy got up, got in the car with me and drove right back down to the same spot to give the man money.  As an adult, I realize that many homeless people have those signs and they may or may not be real.  However, at that time, my daddy didn't care what the man would use the money for.  He showed me the heart of a loving parent that would get up late at night and sacrifice his time and money because of me.  I will never ever forget that he did that for me.
  • Most of all, I from my earliest days, I remember my daddy putting his hand on my closed door every night and hearing his hand slide down the door as he knelt down to pray for me.  EVERY NIGHT as long as I can remember.  As a teenager it made me angry.  But now, it means more to me than anything.  Daddy taught me about a loving God, he led me to Christ, and he left me with a memory of him as the example of a praying parent.
As I look at my precious little boys who will never know the amazing man their granddaddy was, I look to the lessons I learned from him.  I can never be the parent he was.  He was so selfless and so giving to me.  I fail miserably with my own children.  And yet, I always think about him and try to picture what he would do if he were the parent of my boys.  It helps bring clarity among the confusion of parenting.  Most of all, I am thankful that my daddy raised me not just in a Christian home, but in a faith filled home.  I saw his example, I saw his faith and trust in the Lord, and I felt his love.   

This is my favorite picture of me with my daddy.  It was the worst haircut I ever had, not to mention the horrible perm, and we won't even talk about the clothes...but I remember that day like yesterday.  It was Easter Sunday, we went up to the UT campus to take pictures and then drove into the country to see the Bluebonnets.  

Happy birthday daddy. I love you!

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