Dear Dad, Just Breath (Its Almost September)

When I was about 6 or 7 I fell down on the slip and slide in my yard and knocked the breath out of myself. I was terrified. My Dad ran over and looked at me calmly and said “just breathe”. Of all the bad things in life that would happen…that would always prove to be good advice.

And so it goes. Another August. The tenth. Its funny they say it gets easier over time. Im not sure about that. I think you just learn to live with the situation. But the more Augusts that go by, the more I miss you. The longer its been since Ive heard your voice and laugh. My 25th High School Reunion is in a month. I remember you & Mom going to your 25th. It was the year I got married. Holy shit does time fly. Fast. I wanted  August to fly by. Just not so many years so very fast.

It is so crazy, weird, amazing, wonderful to see you in my kids. Recently in Andy’s back to school picture he looked just like you in your younger years. He’s funny. He’s kind. He is sensitive. Maddie is smart. Very. And independent. And cautious. Like me. She doesn’t let people in. I watch it. I see me. You know sometimes when you do…they hurt you. And keeping people at a distance is safer. Keeps your heart in one piece. Keeps you from hurting. And crying. And we don’t like to do that. I think her & I learned a few lessons this summer. About that. About our hearts. And letting people in and pushing people away. When you’ve had loss in your life I suppose thats what you do.
I dont want her to always be that way. I still let people in. Cautiously. I still burn bridges when they disappoint me. I still do that. I don’t want to but I do. You can only hurt so many times. August sucks. Sucks. For 10 years it has been bad. Funny….this one wasn’t great but it wasn’t awful. Some new friends. Some new goals. Some mistakes learned from. Some pages turned. Some books closed. And now September.
Funny how you can go from your least favorite month to your very very favorite. I love September. It has always been my favorite month. Of course because its my birthday month but its also the beginning of Fall, football season, cooler weather. And maybe each birthday is a fresh start. A new beginning. A new year. And I’ll be 44. You would be 63. Old man. OLD. MAN. And I’d tease you about that. Just so you know I am so grateful you were at all the football games I cheered at. I know it was hard to get there with your work schedule and I know you were tired. Thank you. I think parents may underestimate how much their asshole teenage kids appreciate you just being there. Just. Being. There.
So Friday is the first football game of the season. Maddie will be cheering and THIS year I’ll be on the sidelines. As a cheer coach. Funny how things come full circle. I love football. Everything about it. Im trying to like August. I worked hard at this one. I went to a concert with Mom and Kelly. I read. A lot. I wrote. And I accepted. That August may never be my favorite month but I can take it back. I took it back. Goodbye to the 10th August.
Hello September. And to new beginnings and fresh starts and trusting again and loving with all I am. To letting people in. To FORGIVENESS. To growth and joy and moments and music and concerts and a 25th reunion….and some reminiscing and some sweet memories. To all the things that can be.
Good bye August. Hello September. Just breathe.

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