Tag Archives: Dads

LAWN CHAIRS AND BIRTHDAYS

I cannot believe you would be 63 today. That’s old. You’d think it was old. I guess I didn’t realize how young you really were. Im 43 years old now. FOURTY THREE. You died at the age of 53. Damn that is so young. So. Young. Not sure I can even picture you being 63. Less hair, more sentimental, more emotional, more nostalgic, still riding that Harley and RETIRED. Its sucks shit you didn’t get to enjoy retirement. I mean really. Thats just not cool. You’d have gone on a lot of rides with Dennis Im sure. You’d have taken Mom on more trips. You’d have gotten that damn pool because Mom would’ve won that argument and your grandkids would’ve loved it. I wonder if I would have left Texas.

As all great conversations are held over beer in a lawn chair on a driveway…..we’d have had an hour or so one today. We would have had red velvet cake and beer and turned the garage radio on and sat in the lawn chairs on the drive and solved the world’s problems. Dad there is a great possibility that the presidential race next year will have 2 women. Yes Im serious. I think its badass. I don’t care what your politics are its about time! Its funny I used to care more about politics. I don’t really give a shit anymore. Life’s too short and meant to be lived outside, away from the tv. I just don’t care about that anymore. We often disagreed on political issues but it was so fun arguing/talking to you about them. I have a feeling your granddaughter is going to change the world.

You would’ve been sad about Patrick. More than any of us I think. You were very much the most emotional one in the family. Well, except Kelly…you know that. Poor thing cries if you look at her funny. She got that from you. I’ve cried a LOT in the past 9 years Dad. Brain rot sucks. It so totally sucks. And motorcycle accidents suck. And cancer sucks. I don’t cry as much anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. I do. Every single day. The pain of loss gets less INTENSE over time but it never ever goes away. And the funny thing is the longer you are gone the more I miss you. You would’ve offered advice on the driveway about saving enough money for me and the kids to be ok without Patrick. You’d have said “you’ll always have a place here”. I would have felt that security. I don’t have that now but Im ok. I promise. I often wonder if I’d have left Texas if you had lived. I don’t know the answer. I really don’t. But I do know I am right where I am supposed to be now. I found a strength in me I NEVER knew was there. You’d be proud of that. You would.

When UPS trucks drive by I think of you. When CCR comes on the radio I think of you. When Harley’s drive by I think of you. When Coors is around I think of you. When I open the spare room closet and your 3,000 Harley t-shirts are hanging there I think of you. When I start a conversation with “well lemme ask you this….” I hear you. Its funny. When I find myself standing on my couch with a clenched fist screaming at those damn Dallas Cowboys and everyone is looking at me like Im crazy…yep…I came by that genetically. By the way- you don’t even want to know how its going this season. I like all those little reminders.

Colorado is as beautiful and amazing and awesome as you always said. I wish you’d gotten to live here. Last year I went to where you had your accident. What a beautiful last sight you got to see. I see why you loved it here so much. Im going to climb every damn mountain, walk every trail, stare at every beautiful sight for ya. For Patrick. Because I can. Dad- I climbed Pikes Peak. Pretty sure you knew that. Leaving Texas was hard. Not as hard as it would’ve been to live the rest of my life and wonder. I hope you get that. I hope you know. Im sure you do.

Dad music is still shitty. The classics are still better. I choose Bob Segar and Fleetwood Mac and Zeppelin over current pop everyday. You’d be glad. Somethings just cannot be done better. I still choose beer over fru-fru drinks. I still don’t wear white below the waist after Labor Day. I still let the other cars leave the line first when the light turns green. I still check my oil consistently. I never leave home without money. And my friends laugh but I take toilet paper on every hike. I learned the importance of that from you and your sock story!

Maddie & Andy are amazing. You’d love watching them play soccer and watching Maddie cheer. I can hear you saying a thousand times how much you “loved watching me cheer” and this is “deja vu” and “time flies so enjoy every minute”. I am. I am.

I know you’d also say work less and play more. Im working on that. I get it now. I hope there’s a long winding beautiful road where you are and access to a low rider today. I hope you get to have a Coors too. I will. Happy Birthday old man. Until next year.

20151012-065531-24931356.jpg

STANDING ROOM ONLY

There’s a few ways to live your life. It’s all about choices. You can be of a quiet nature, more of a loner. You prefer your evenings at home watching tv and are rarely in the company of more than 1 or 2 people. You are quiet. Rarely speak unless spoken to. Seldom reach out to friends and don’t ever make plans. And that is ok. Some people prefer solitude and quiet. Now I’ve heard of these types of people. I know they DO exist. I, however, grew up in a nuthouse. OK not so much a nuthouse as a loud house. A very loud house full of very loud, strong willed people who all were right ALL of the time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

When you grow up with a Mom and Dad like mine you really don’t realize there are other “types” of parents until you get older and spend time with other families. I thought all Dads dressed up in their daughter’s cheer uniform and performed in front of the senior class. I thought all Dads hid on the roof and jumped off and scared Trick Or Treaters. I thought all Dads yelled and cussed at the tv while the Cowboys played. I thought all Dads knew everyone on the planet and called them by name. I thought all Dads let their kid stay up late to watch Barney Miller and All in The Family and explained why Archie was ironic. How racism permeated the 60’s and 70’s and how Archie’s character was ironic and made fun of an entire group of close minded bigots. I thought all Dads called their kid into the garage to listen to this brand new awesome tape that this band U2 released called Joshua Tree and made them listen to every damn word. I thought all Dads let their 13 year old drive their truck on the street and said they’d keep that a secret from Mom (sorry Mom).

The entire week of my Dad’s funeral was quite a blur. Thank God for friends and people who took care of “business” because my sister, Mom, brother and I were a bit in Lala Land. I do, however, remember the funeral service quite well. 100’s of Harley’s lined up in the parking lot of a church is quite a sight…I think you call it a juxtaposition. All of these Harley guys stood in the back of the church with their t-shirts custom made with my Dad’s name on them and their bandanas and chaps and long hair. While many MANY older relatives in their church dresses filled the pews. And sooooooo many of my friends I cannot begin to name. Grateful to them. Before the service I remember my Mom being concerned that the church’s sanctuary (damn Im proud of myself for remembering that word)…I was going to call it an auditorium….was so big that it would look empty with 30-70 people in there and she didn’t want it to look empty.

Everyone was seated before the family was escorted in. We waited in a back room and were the last ones shown to our seat on the front row. As I walked with my husband and kids and sister and brother I looked up. There was standing room only. There was not one empty seat. In fact, people spilled out into the lobby, into the hallways. I just stared. There were over 700 people there. In that room. In that place. For my Dad. I guess my Mom’s fears were unfounded.

After the service we (the immediate family) stood in this reception type line because my Mom said we had to and shook hands with everyone who filtered out of the service. Hours. HOURS. And more hours went by. My heels were kicked off and I think someone was bringing us food and drinks and eventually chairs to sit in since we’d been standing so long.

There were people from his work dressed in all brown (UPS uniform). There were bikers from all over the place. There were old high school friends of his that I had never heard of. Then there was a lady. An older lady. She was from Arkansas. She’d driven FROM ARKANSAS. She was a single Mom in a truck stop diner in Arkansas on one of my Dad’s routes over the years. Every Holiday apparently he’d tipped her VERY well because he knew she was a single Mom and needed the money. She sent Christmas cards for many years after his death. We’d have never known about her had he not died.

This blog is not at all meant to be sad. My Dad’s death sucked. Funerals mostly SUCK. But in that moment. On that day. In that SANCTUARY…I decided there is really only one way to live your life. Holy shit this 53 year old college drop out truck driver had more friends and admiration than most people ever will in their lifetimes. I was not living my life completely that way. At the time I was submerged in potty training and registering Maddie for Kindergarten and lack of sleep and bitching about my kids sucking the life out of me. I was scheduling girls night outs once a month just to speak to other adults. I had friends. Good friends. But i wasn’t CONNECTING. I wasn’t FEELING with all that I had to feel and give. Retreating, running, making superficial connections, being defensive. All of that I was doing.

He didn’t have to die for me to realize all of this. Maybe it would have sunk in as I aged. I am now 42. I am just 11 years younger now than when he died. I have made stronger, deeper connections in these past nine years than ever before. I moved because I wanted to. I climb mountains and travel and make time for friends and feel things deeply and listen to all of the lyrics. And it might be genetic. It might be that I just got his personality. But I can honestly say some of the way I choose to live….a lot of the way I choose to live is because of a moment in a sanctuary when I looked up and saw over 700 people that one man had touched. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life one day and have to worry about not “filling the room”, “filling the seats”. It’s a true testament to a person’s life….the number of people that show up to their funeral. Live every single ounce of life. Suck the energy out of every day. Be nice. BE. NICE. Stop with the cynicism and complaining. You can’t get those moments back. Invest in people. Travel. Look your friends in the eye. FEEL. Even when it hurts. Tell people how you feel. And ride! Run, climb, ride, travel, go see, do all that you want to do. Fill the pews. Because all the money in the world, all the stuff in the world, the greatest job in the world, cannot provide that which a brief moment with another person, eye to eye, can provide.

20150621-085952-32392343.jpg

I HOPE THERE’S COORS LIGHT IN HEAVEN….HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD

My Dad would be 62 years old today! SIXTY-TWO. He would joke about how OOOOLLLLDDD that is. His hair would be more gray and there’d be less of it. He MIGHT be a tad grouchier than at 53. I know he’d be more sentimental…he was a total SAP. I also know he’d still be drinking beer, sitting in a chair in the driveway and listening to that damn garage radio.

SIXTY-TWO. He’d sit outside in that chair next to me and be all Neil Young-ish reminiscing about being young and children and parents and time passing too fast. He’d tell me how proud of me he is. That my kids are awesome. That it totally sucks ass about Patrick’s brain rot and that he and Mom would be here for us no matter what. He’d talk about Pawpa and how much he missed his Dad.

I won’t hear it all physically but I will hear it in my head. Thats enough.

He would have Coors Light. Because there is no other beer. Obviously. Funny the things that go through your head when you think about someone in the “afterlife”. My biggest hope is that there is Coors Light in Heaven. If there wasn’t before he was there I know he’s rallied to have it delivered. Oh and obviously music…there’s GOT to be music. Preferably classic rock if he has anything to say about it.

Funny I never thought of my Dad as old. NEVER. Perhaps because most of the time he acted like a 13 year old idiot boy. He just never “grew up”. I think that’s a wise way to live. Maybe some people are never meant to get old. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, JFK. I dunno. It doesn’t matter. My Dad didn’t get to “get old” here on Earth. So if there is any yin to the yang, if karma exists, if what comes around goes around, if it all makes sense in the end….then there has GOT to be Coors Light in Heaven! 🙂

Happy 62nd Birthday to my Dad wherever he is. I will put two chairs in the driveway and have a few beers to honor him…he’d want it that way!

The Cowboys play the Seahawks today, Dad. I’m sure you’ll hear me screaming!

20141012-075956-28796432.jpg

Fourty-two Years!

Today would have been my parent’s 42nd wedding anniversary. It’s another date on the calendar that my Mom (and us kids) are reminded that he is not here. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgving, they are all dates on a calendar that are tough for people who have lost loved ones. But really- you don’t need a special occasion to realize you’re sad and miss them. I miss my Dad every day, not just on particular dates. None are worse or any better than the other dates. Sad doesn’t know what day it is.

So to juxtapose the sadness I had this amazing weekend in Los Angeles at a Beach Body conference. And had a few great conversations over wine (1 yellow container’s worth) hahaha about sadness and choices. Two sweet girls and I talked about loss. Sometimes it’s easy to say “my Dad died and that HAPPENED TO ME”. It’s our “story” and it often defines us if we let it. I decided a long time ago that my Dad’s death did not HAPPEN TO ME. It happened. And it sucked. But there are choices made after such a tragic event. And I chose life. In fact, I choose it every day. There have since been many sad and difficult things happen in my life. And every day I still wake up and choose life. Be alive every day. Live every day. Jump out of your comfort zone EVERY SINGLE DAY. Going to L.A. this weekend was definitely jumping faaaar out of my comfort zone.

I am a 41 year old Mom from Texas. I have never been to Los Angeles before. One month ago I was not working (and hadn’t been in many years). I’m not sure why in the world I thought I could sling workout videos and shakes and build a team of awesome coaches and be successful at it. I guess the voice in my head that said “you can” was louder than the voice that said “no way, not you”. Sometimes I’m just too stupid to realize I can’t do something. And that’s a GREAT quality I get from my Dad.

It was an awesome, amazing, inspiring, transforming, and energizing weekend. I feel so excited about what’s ahead for me. In one month’s time I’ve changed physically, I feel better and I already have 4 awesome coaches on my team who are just as excited (and hopefully as “stupid”) as I am. I hope their “I cans” are louder than their “no way I can’t’s”.

My Dad would be proud of me no matter what I ever did or didn’t do. I know that. But I’d like to think he was watching me at that conference and thinking “you got it right, girl- don’t just be alive each day….LIVE!”

20140303-081419.jpg