Saturday, June 20, 2015

Oh, Dad

Dear Dad,

It’s always hard to figure out what to do on Father’s Day now that you are gone.  When you were on this earth, I would call you from wherever we were stationed, and I’d have a nice long chat with you about your day, your life, your health.  You always turned the conversation back to my day, my life, your grandkids.  I used to try to find a book you’d like to read—it was a challenge beating my brothers to the next nonfiction bestseller, but we’d sometimes collude with mom about which one to get you.  The Hallmark card was part of the gift—sometimes it took a long time to find the one that said just what I wanted to say that year.  The message didn’t change much though…some variation of how happy I was to call you “dad.”  

On Father’s Day I usually wake up thinking of you.  It has always been so easy to love you. 

I wish I’d recorded your voice.  I miss the sound of you.  I hear your laugh when I talk to Steve.  I see your hands in his.  Stacy has your neck and chin;  Todd has your pensive gaze. 

I miss you, Dad. 

You were so important to my children.  When Bo died, you stepped up in such a big way.  You told me they’d never lack for anything, and they didn’t.  You told me you’d always be there for us, and you were.  When Bo died, there was a void in each of my kids’ hearts.  But you filled it as best you could, with love, devotion, and pride in their accomplishments.  It still fuels them as they pursue good, meaningful lives.

Thank you for doing that for us, Dad.

I see you in Lauren…she has your penchant for barbed wire, cattle, long and dusty roads.  I see you in Christi…the smile on her face when she was in your arms as a child still shows up.  I watch you in Carlisle…his work ethic is yours.  He still works to make you proud. Your sparkle is in Michelle’s eyes…you were her Shiny Top.  You were more father to Charlotte than any other man as Bo was gone when she was still so little.  Thank you for grandfathering our children so well.

I’m grateful for you, Dad.

I admit I get jealous sometimes when I see others with their dads.  I long for you.  I ache to walk beside you, holding your arm.  I wish for one more day, one more hour with you. 

I have no regrets.  Each time we were together, we shared our affection for each other.  I never left anything unspoken with you.  No unfinished business, no unforgiveness, no mess, no fuss.  Our slate is clean…pristine.  You simply loved me and I simply loved being your only daughter. 

Thank you for teaching me how to love like that, Dad. 

I know that at the end of my long, happy life, you’ll be there waiting for me.  Till then,  I love you sixty million ways.

Happy Father’s Day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Moving Blues


I’ve moved all my life.

Augsburg, Germany at birth.

Fort Benning, Georgia as a baby.

Luverne, North Dakota as a toddler.

Back to Fort Benning, Georgia for pre-school.

A short stay in Oakland, California as we waited for my father to send for us.

Off to Okinawa, Japan for kindergarten, first, second, and third grades, but even on that little island we moved twice.

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Fort Benning, Georgia for fifth and sixth grade;  I met my lifelong friend Pam here.

Columbus, Georgia while my father was deployed to Viet Nam.

Washington, D.C. for Pentagon duty.

Killeen, Texas for a year off-post, then a move on post to Fort Hood, then a move off post to Harker Heights.

Tallahassee, Florida for college, again, with my bff, Pam.

Fort Hood, Texas as a new bride, new teacher.

Off to Mannheim, Germany, and even overseas we moved three times.  We put our moving boxes into moving boxes, and brought little Lauren into the world in Heidelberg.   

Back to the continental US, to Fort Benning, Georgia.  Welcome Christi!

Off to Monterey, California, Fort Ord.

Back to Fort Hood, Texas within a few blocks of my folks.  Howdy Carlisle!

Fort Stewart, Georgia with a large battalion of other movers and shakers.

Fort Harrison, Indiana.  Hi Michelle! 

Carmel, Indiana.  Lebanon, Indiana.

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Hello little Charlotte!

Mannheim, Germany once more;  then off to Hohenfels in Bavaria.

Back to the continental U.S. again, to MacDill AFB in Tampa, Florida.

Retirement to Brandon, Florida, followed by an earthquake as Bo and I split up;  I  stayed in Brandon;  he took to the trails.

Back to Harker Heights, Texas, to look after momma. 

A move to College Station, and another move in College Station.

Put down roots you say?   Do I know how?

Roots have never been a home, a backyard, or a neighborhood.  Roots for me have always been my lifeblood—my children, their spouses, my grandchildren. 

But when I moved to this town, this neighborhood-- I found the closest thing I've known as home in a very long time.  But, it’s coming to a close.  The guys who own my house, not my home, are moving back in.  It’s their house.  I get it.

But I don’t want to leave my home.  I want to stay.

I know I'll find a cottage, a pup tent, a fortress someplace nearby.  But moving is hard.  This is the place I love.  This is the place I want to stay. 

God’s will is perfect.  His ways are not my ways.  Each time I’ve moved, it’s because He’s picked me up and plopped me exactly where He wants me to be.  He’ll do it again.  I know.

But moving is hard.