June 16, 2013

Happy Father’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 7:20 pm by Debbie

Remembering you is easy, I do it every day.
Missing you is the heartache that never goes away.

In honor of Father’s Day and in memory of the two special “fathers” in my life (mine and the father of my children), I decided to share some related randomness with you – a snippet of my weekend, if you will:

~ Me (directed to my Dad and Dave after accidentally spraying myself in the face (twice) with the water hose while washing the car*): “Okay you two, you can stop laughing now. It wasn’t that funny.”

~ Conversation with myself: “Dave would be so impressed that I washed the car inside and out. No, on second thought, he’d probably have to critique my not-so-perfect job and tell me how I had done something-or-other wrong. Come to think of it, he’s probably rolling over in his grave that I even washed the car at all. I wonder where that phrase comes from? Shoot. Now I have to go look it up. Never mind. I’m sticking with the first one – Dave would be so impressed that I washed the car inside and out.”

~ Thoughts while looking at old photos of my Dad: Wow, Dad doesn’t have gray hair in this picture. And he’s still skinny. I wonder if we (kids) caused his gray hair and weight gain. No, wait a minute. He didn’t get gray hair and gain weight until after we all moved out. So, it must have been all Mom’s fault. What was I thinking?

~ Texts with my children:
Me: Since tomorrow is Father’s Day and your father isn’t here, you two should spend money on me, instead.
Son: U don’t get two days.
Daughter: Yeah Mom, you don’t get two days.
Me: Clearly we did not raise you two right.
Daughter (to her brother): I think we turned out pretty awesome, don’t you think?
Son: Duh

(Note to self: Need to work on that whole two-days thingy for next year.)

~ Conversation at dinner after I suggest to my two (adult) children that they pitch in more around the house:
Son: You should be nice to us since it’s Father’s Day and we don’t have a father any more.
Me: Seriously. Lame.

~ To all of the Dads I know: I hope your day was special.

~ And to my Dad and Dave: I love you. I miss you. Happy Father’s Day.

*In my defense, you should know that the hose handle will, occasionally and randomly, come back on after it’s turned off. I’m really only an airhead once in a while. Really.

My Daddy and me:

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Update: My Mom won’t let me blame my Dad’s gray hair and whatnot on her. She says I have to blame heredity. Okay. Whatever.

February 4, 2013

My Father’s Eyes

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 8:00 pm by Debbie

I took a few minutes to really look at the photo. To examine its details. And then I saw it. There, twinkling in front of me, where it had been all my life. I saw my own reflection in my father’s eyes. Yes, I really am Daddy’s little girl. Always was. Always will be.

February 5, 2013 marks the one-year anniversary of living without my Dad. So much of 2012 is still a blur to me. I suppose it always will be. Dave had just returned home from his first hospital stay. We had learned of the cancer, but not his diagnosis. Meanwhile, my Dad went into the hospital and never came home. It went something like this: Dave in hospital, Dad in hospital, Dave has cancer, Dave comes home, Dad dies, Dad’s funeral, Dave has Stage IV Adenocarcinoma, Debbie goes into caregiver mode. All of that in a 3-week period. The list of surgeries, illnesses and funerals for our family continued for the entire rest of the year.

I didn’t have time to mourn the loss of my father. I didn’t allow myself to think about him really much at all. Until recently. And now thoughts of Hollis David Kennedy bring a smile to my face. My heart is warmed by the memories. My grief is in a comfortable place. And I have my father’s eyes.

When I was a little girl, the most severe punishment you could inflict upon me was hearing my father say he was disappointed in me. All he had to do was raise his voice and tears would fly – not that I was ever in trouble, or anything. No, really. I was the baby with two older brothers, need I say more?

One of my most fond memories is Evil Eye. Dad would pretend to be really mean, furrowing his brow on one side, raising his brow on the other, pure evil (not) streaming from his eyes. I usually feigned fear. Then I would spend hour upon hour practicing the same facial expression in the mirror. Laugh if you must, but it takes many hours of practice to train one eyebrow to raise while the other is scrunched. Hard work. Really. Then when I thought I had it figured out, I’d run to my Dad and say, “Watch this, I can do the Evil Eye, too.”

But it never worked quite like Dad’s. I think I was a legal adult when I finally trained my eyebrow muscles to perform the Evil Eye. According to my children, my Evil Eye is still not as menacing as Dad’s. As a matter of fact, I recall some laughter at my attempts.

It’s just as well. There wasn’t an evil bone in my father, either. But they’re wrong. I can do the Evil Eye. I do have my father’s eyes, after all.

I lit a candle for you today, Dad.
It glows from deep within my heart.
And there it will stay,
Until the day we see each other again.

December 19, 2012

A Note To My Children

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 8:42 pm by Debbie

The tragic events of last week have prompted countless suggestions on Facebook, in the news and in private conversations to hug your kids and tell them how much you love them. Of course my initial reaction was ‘why do we need a horrific event to remind us of something we should be doing every day?’ And then I came down off my high horse and wrote the following note to my children:

I remember those two days like they were yesterday. One in 1986, the second in 1989. As your father shed tears of joy, I shed tears of pain. Happy pain. No-drugs-during-delivery pain. Can-we-start-over-and-get-the-epideral-this-time pain. Twice. And I’d do it all over again, too.

Just the look on your dad’s face alone was worth every second. I thought he’d bust a shirt button when he saw that his first-born was a son. And no words can express the magical moment when he met his daughter for the first time. Cherished memories that don’t change, leave or disappear. Ever.

And as I reflect back on the year we’ve endured together, I feel a different kind of pain for you. Pain that only another parent could comprehend. One day you’ll understand that when your children hurt, so do you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a splinter on the butt from the playground, stitches in the eyebrow from a fall, anger at the loss of an important game, frustration at not nailing that dance move, heartache over young love, or the pain of saying goodbye to a loved one. It’s all pain. It’s all in my heart, too. And I have at least one gray hair (cleverly concealed) to represent every one of those moments in your lives.

Unfortunately, I can’t take that pain away. Not when you were little. Not now. Not ever. Those are the moments of your lives, that when strung together with the happy times, make you who you are. And you’re both pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

What I can do is listen. I can remind you that I’m here for you. I can kiss the booboo. I can tell you how much I love you. And can I pray that there is never a day in your life that you doubt how much your daddy loved you, too. Always and forever.

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