Fathers day seemed like a an appropriate time to explain my Father situation... This handsome young man with his arm around my moms waist is my Dad, Paul. My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 7 and passed away when I was 8. I have vivid memories of him sitting on the end of my bed playing his guitar and singing "Ode to big blue" or a Gordan Lightfoot song while I fell asleep. Of him chasing me around our yard playing tag only to catch and throw me so high in air I was convinced he was the strongest man on earth. Or sitting on his lap on the riding lawn mower. Or sitting in church and he would stop singing the hymn to listen to me sing. Or him surprising me and picking me up from school to take me to "the city" with him for work. These are the memories I hold onto, the ones I play over and over in my head. They are the only ones I have of him. They are the only ones I get. When he baptized me, 8 months before he died, I remember standing in the font and he stopped speaking, I looked up at him with his chemo-bald head and realized he was crying. I remember when his hair started to fall out and my mom (accidentally) shaved his head, he sat outside before church one morning to try to get some sun on his white scalp. I remember the last thing he ever said to me, which is too special to say. I feel like it's my little goodbye that I've only told a few people. I remember sitting around my grandparents kitchen table, saying goodbye to him. I remember the day he died. These are memories I'll never forget, they are bittersweet. I didn't have him growing up, not like I should have. I felt him often but oh, how I would have loved to talk to him as an adult. I would give almost anything right now to talk to him. He was an avid journal writer, and right now I have his journal from his first few years of marriage, I love to read it. I love to understand a bit of who I am in the pages. I miss him every single day. I am so eternally grateful that I know I'll see him again. Happy Fathers day, Dad, I love you.
Side note: Doesn't Joe (my brother) look so much like our Dad? It's crazy.
This cute guy with his arm around my sisters waist is my Pops, Elden. Elden and I both agree that we don't like the term "step-dad" so Pop's it is. Would you like to hear the best story ever? Okay. Elden and my mom were high school sweethearts, she Dear John-ed him for my Dad and he married a beautiful woman named Danelle. Years down the road and a few kids later, we lived in Maryland and moved to Arizona when my Dad passed away. Danelle was diagnosed with MS. Elden took care of her for years. I can't imagine how hard it would be to watch your spouse get so horribly sick. He moved to Arizona and a few years later his wife passed away. Connect the dots and here we are. A crazy, loud, funny blended family, not without our struggles, but we've definitely made it work and there is a lot of love. Really, the situation couldn't be more perfect. Elden is the kindest person I have ever met. Truly. He is the town optometrist and you wouldn't believe the things he'll "trade" for. He is loving and interested and is so good for advice because he'll tell you like it is. He is also the most sarcastic person I've ever met. Truly. Here is a Elden tip for those of you who know him: don't take anything personal, if he likes you, he teases you. If he loves you, he relentlessly teases you. Last August (a healthy) Elden had a stroke. We we're living with them at the time and I was working for him. There was a day or two that things were pretty scary. It was so awful. I realized how much I loved having him in my life. He had filled a void I hadn't realized. As he was laying in the hospital bed I said "Don't you go dieing on me" and he said "Right when you started to like me, huh?" (Typical Elden) Needless to say he is doing great now (and lost 25 pounds! Look at you, hot stuff!) It brings tears to my eyes to think about how happy he has made my Mom. Happy Fathers day, Pops! We love you. (Elden, whose we pale face?)
Side note: Working this summer a patient realized Elden was my Dad and said "You look so much like him!" haha, nice try.
I feel so lucky for the Fathers I have. I missed out on a few things, but gained a lot of things.
...and how could I not give a shout out to my someday baby-daddy?! Love you Landito, can't wait until you can celebrate Fathers day for reals.