I was reminded this week of the way life moves at a pace all its own whether you are ready for it or not. One of my favorite people in my Friday reading group was absent for the last two weeks. I asked if he was on vacation but was told that because his disease had progressed so rapidly in the last month, he was moved to an assisted living facility. This day program is designed for those still able to live at home so I wouldn’t have the pleasure of Irv’s company any longer. My heart was heavy because this man had provided me with so many humorous anecdotes and stories of his life. I told him we would sit down and record of his memories once I purchased a decent recorder. I didn’t move fast enough…..
Today is your only guarantee.
Being that it is Father’s Day today, I am reminded of how my Dad loved to bask in the happiness of his children. It wasn’t until his father passed away that he admitted his dad never told him he loved him. My Dad knew Grandpa did love him but why was it so hard to say it out loud? As my Dad aged, he grew more sentimental and affectionate. There was never a time that I spoke to him that he didn’t remind me that he loved me. I carry this tradition through with my own children thinking what if this is the last time we speak? Now I know that is a bit morbid but let’s err on the side of morbidity just in case, huh?
I lost my Dad too soon. I knew the end was approaching and I felt a sense of urgency to convey a “lifetime of thank you” in a short period of time. I thought to myself, what will I regret not saying while I have the chance? So I chose a beautiful card and wrote to Dad letting him know that he shared many wonderful qualities and interests of which I was grateful. At the same time I may have inherited his stubbornness and impatience too! It was important to me to memorialize my thoughts.
My Dad encouraged me to find my own way and this is a big part of who I am today. I wasn’t the kind of kid that needed a lot of rules because not meeting his expectations was enough to scare the daylights out of me. I learned by experience. Yes, he was right that freshman shouldn’t date seniors but he let me come to my own conclusion after one miserable date. I even told him he was right! Finding my own way is an integral component of my success as a parent and business person. Most importantly, “finding my way” is what fuels me to discover both myself and the world. Finding my way helped me leave a dysfunctional relationship knowing I was going to be OK.
My Dad supported the idea that you don’t know unless you try….. but you can’t quit in the middle of the season! I wanted to play freshman volleyball and lucky for me everyone was accepted to the team. Unluckily for me (but very lucky for the team) I was not good enough to play any matches. I sat there in fear that I may get called in so I wanted to quit the team, after all it really didn’t matter. I was a benchwarmer! My Dad said, “If you made a commitment, you keep it. You still benefit from the practice session. Not everyone is going to be a star.” I didn’t like the revelation that I wouldn’t be a star but that is whole other blog topic! So years later and with his blessing, I moved to California to take a job at the tender age of 25 without knowing a soul. I’m still here all these years later!
I am not sure if Dad was a confident or shall I say as fearless as I am but I still credit him with helping to shape me into a pretty cool (if I don’t say so myself) gal! He bought me my first chemistry kit and here we are in 1972 at the kitchen table with my brother and sister looking on as my Dad and I dissect something. I don’t think too many girls were as “weird” as I was but it did lead to a Biochemistry degree thirteen years later!
Father’s Day became an official holiday in 1972 whereas Mother’s Day has been celebrated since 1870, at least according to the gospel of Wikipedia. These “Hallmark holidays” are not a replacement for reminding those we love and especially those who have our back or broke their back to get us where we are, that we are thankful. We should, although I try not to use the “S word (should)”, live in gratitude daily.
Today is your only guarantee.
To all of you out there, I encourage you to pause and prioritize; “a PP moment”. Yes, we have responsibilities and schedules that cannot be set aside but I believe you can make time for what is important to you. I have so many interests but limited free time and resources. Some weekends I dance and some weekends I need to chill at home with a good book. I can’t do it all but I do what matters most to me and those I love.
Let’s say you are busy taking care of an aging parent or three young children while working a full time job, you have a few seconds to say things like……
you are on my mind because……
I love you just the way you are!
thank you for being there…..
I am here if you want to talk or can I call you tonight?
Finally, I am thankful you are in my life.
Reach out and touch, people! Today is your only guarantee.
I’d love to hear your thoughts……
From the heart,