Today is Father's Day. Happy Father's Day to the daddy's out there! I did a fair bit of planning for this year's special day for the father of my children and I'm happy to report that all went well. A day on the lake in a pontoon is good for everyone's soul!
This day has never really had a lot of meaning for me - being as I grew up without a daddy in my life - but it's all the more important that my children understand the importance of it. As my children celebrate this day each year with their daddy, I hope they are grateful for a guy that is so in love with the two of them! That's not to say that my daddy didn't love me, but his non-presence has certainly left me with several bags by the door...if you catch my drift!
I'm always in awe - and if I'm being honest, often jealous - of the relationship between my daughter and her daddy. It's one that I find foreign and unrelatable. I'm delighted that she knows that relationship all the while pining for a daddy's comfort that I was never privy to nor will I ever have. I struggle to understand the dynamic that is ‘daddy and daughter’!
I have several friends that are having a tough time this father's day adjusting to life without their daddy's. I'm so sad for the loss that they feel and that I'll never quite understand. It's not comparable to the loss of a friend, pet or any other loved one. It's different. While I have experienced losing my father, I never knew him as my daddy. Therefore, this was just a passing in my family to adjust to and go on about my life with. This too, makes me sad.
Today, I was delivered the unfortunate news that my cousin (pictured above - as I like to recall her best) was killed in a car accident early this morning. I wasn't close to her; I had seen her recently. What makes my heart ache for this accident - aside from the unimaginable feeling her mother had to endure in hearing that her daughter was killed - is her life.
Growing up, this girl was everything I wanted to be. I idolized her - inasmuch as you can someone 4 years older than you. I would go out of my way to make sure I was around her. She fascinated me on so many levels. She was gorgeous, outgoing, edgy and pleasant. She had her wild side, but my mom and hers did their fair share of shielding me from that...so as not to taint my perception of her, I'm sure.
I remember staying with her for a few days and she taught me how to feed, saddle and ride a horse. I recall her dressing me up in the most insanely cool clothes, make-up and accessories during this particular stay. I was probably around 8 years old. I still have pictures she took of me once I was all dolled up! (I'll have to dig those up!)
I remember the first time I bumped into her in our high school. I was in the 8th grade and she was a senior. I remember her saying, as we passed each other in the hallway, "Jenny! I can't believe you're in high school now! I am just beside myself!" 'Beside myself'...that was pretty cool! I remember laying next to her in her room while she was studying and straining to read the information in her chemistry book. I would grow tired of trying to understand all that information and I would jump to her yearbook. I can remember running my hands over the signatures and summer well-wishes in that book and longing for a time when I was like her.
I remember when she announced to everyone that she was going to play football. We all thought she was insane...football! She went out for the team. They allowed her to go through spring practice with them. I remember the bruises. They were bad. Who does that? I remember thinking...God, she's crazy and wonderful all at the same time!
When I was 5 years old, I remember her running through our grandmother's house with me on her back. She was tossing me onto pillows in the back bedroom of the house. The last time she did, I bounced from the pillow and hit my face on the window sill. As I came up from wall with the blinding pain in my lip, I hadn't quite processed the sequence of events. All four of my top teeth were now either on the floor or dangling from my gums! She was staring at me with a look of horror. I put my hand to my mouth and saw blood and that's when the terror struck! I remember that night like it was yesterday. My mom rushed me to the hospital where my pediatrician (who is my children's pediatrician today) jerked me from my mother's arms and whisked me away to assess the damage. Imagine a 5 year old with a face covered in blood. There were no questions asked...it was a matter of figuring out what the hell happened!!! After a long evening in the ER, I told my mom that I would like to go by and show Amy so she would know I was okay. She was at her friend, Lori Howell's house and I remember her coming out to the car and I smiled my toothless grin to her! Even then, at that young age, I didn't want her to think I was upset with her.
Later on, she would find herself in a bit of trouble. She'd been in a car accident in Auburn (where I would soon find myself stomping around) and was in the hospital. The details of the accident as well as the other parties involved were about as bad as it could get. I remember my mom and I traveling down to the hospital to visit her and when we arrived, the nurses went to tell her we were there. She informed them that she didn't want to see us. I was confused, devastated and, if I'm honest, a little pissed off. I mean, we drove all the way down to see her. But, my young, teenage mind couldn't have comprehended the massive trauma (both physical and emotional) that she was dealing with at that time.
Her father (my uncle) left this world a few years back. She was unable to attend the funeral due to the fact that she was in prison. I remember her voice on the phone to her daddy and how heart wrenching it was. I remember the letter her sister read at the funeral that she had written. I remember how well versed she was in that letter and how impressed I was by her then. Even though she was in prison, I was still her biggest fan. Wow...that's amazing to me.
Her life has been no picnic. She's made some rough decisions. Decisions I don't agree with now and didn't know to disagree with then. She was my girl...the one that could do no wrong! I took heart in the fact that she adored me and I absolutely loved her!
And now she's gone. Some would say that she's at peace now. If I look back now, her life did seem to be this wrecking ball at times. She always seemed to be heading somewhere too quickly or hurriedly. She was a force to be reckoned with and for that I adored her! So, the life she lived, however tragic it may have seemed to some, was filled with nothing but adoration from me for quite some time. She was an original and my heart aches for her that she may never have felt as though she found her place.
Rest, sweet child. You're right where you can feel safe. You're with your daddy today.
(Your earthly one and your eternal one.)