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  • Jenny

Remembering Dad

It's been quite a week. I cried over lead paint and raged (like, RAGED) over cabinet hardware. My morning meditation is interrupted every few seconds or so with important queries like what deliveries are scheduled for today? will the faucets arrive in time for templating? is the fridge too big for the space? if it's quartz, why is it still so expensive?

Yesterday, I wondered out loud 'Is this who I've become? Is this who I am now?? IS THIS WHO I AMMMMM??'

But today is a new day and I'm putting it all into perspective. Today is the two year anniversary of Dad's death. I've been feeling it coming in the last few days - perhaps that helps explain the crying and raging over trivial kitchen decisions. This dreaded day and the memory of 'sick Dad.' Why do I even have to remember 'sick Dad?' I still haven't figured out the lesson in that and why the memories of those last days and weeks continue to be so vivid. Luckily outside of this particular time of the year and a couple random days in between, my memories are of 'Dad Dad.'

And I know that Dad is here with me almost every single day. He is with me walking the dogs, feeling the sun on my face, hearing the crunch of snow beneath my feet, and taking in the musty smell of the still-decaying fall leaves. He is here listening to the birds outside my window while I lay in bed in the morning - if only he would tell me which birds are making which sounds! He is watching over me to make sure I don't electrocute myself changing out light switches and outlets from beige to white. He is here in his art in every room of the house - the cloud and sky oil painting in my room, the Amagansett beach oil painting in the living room, the Boulder and Vineyard watercolors in the guest room, and the pen and ink owl that is still looking for his wall. He is here in the laundry room - where all his painting supplies landed - waiting for me to pick up a brush or a charcoal pencil and create something.

Dad was a master 'do-it-yourself-er' and he is encouraging me to do as much myself as I can (sometimes to Ariel's dismay :), reminding me of everything he was capable of and everything he taught me. Dad was my greatest teacher. He wanted to share everything he knew - and he knew so much. He wasn't the kind of Dad who would just change the oil in the car. He would call me and Sharon out there to witness and help. He would explain each step to us as we yawned and wished we were anywhere else except in the cold garage. But those demos stuck and somehow got into my little brain. Thanks to Dad, I am pretty handy - and if I don't know how to do it, I feel confident that I can figure it out. And as he always said, there are no mistakes, only lessons.

So even today, I choose to remember 'Dad Dad' even though 'sick Dad' was front of mind this morning. Perhaps the greatest lesson he passed on was this: You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friends nose. Hahaha. It wouldn't be complete without a corny Steve joke! I guess that's a lesson in itself - not to take any of this, including yourself, too seriously.

Miss you Papa.

(The picture above and the three below are of Big Papa Pine. He lives out by the pond and must have been there for quite some time. I stop by a few times a week on dog walks and hug this tree and soak in his strength. There are many miraculous things about this experience, but mostly that my two 70+ pound dogs wait patiently, don't pull on their leashes to scamp after chirping chipmunks, and sometimes even sit quietly while I breathe with Big Papa.

When I came to the property for the home inspection, I wandered out by the pond and as I approached this tree the skies parted, the sun shone through, squirrels and chipmunks hopped to and fro, and birds flew from branch to branch singing happy songs. It was straight out of a Disney movie. I almost saw it in Technicolor. And I sat at the trunk of this tree, looking over the pond and gazing out at the view beyond and I cried. Tears of happiness and tears of sorrow. Knowing I was in the exact right place and knowing that Dad would always be here.)

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