Today is my dad's birthday. My sixth one without him. What I wouldn't give to even know what I would be buying him this year. What would he be into or in need of? I'd love to know that.
The past few weeks I've been recognizing that the best gift is one that his death has given me. I can't help thinking lately, especially each night as I lay my kids to sleep, that I am so lucky to know how quickly things could all change. How fast they, or I, could just be gone. It's because of him that I turn around, nearly every night since the birth of my first, and head back into their rooms. To touch their hair, or rub their bellies, or to just stare and give thanks for them one last time that day before I go to bed. Because I know that tomorrow could bring something totally different, completely horrific, utterly devastating - in the blink of an eye.
Is that negative thinking? Absolutely. But I use that fear in a completely positive way. I squeeze every amount of amazing, out of each waking moment, of every day that I have with them. Will I, like every other parent, exclaim that things went by way too fast when they turn 18 and go off to college? Absolutely. But I also know that I don't think I could get anything more out of this magic that is mommyhood. Every kiss they give, every hair pulling hug they offer me I live in slow motion so it can be etched into my soul. I can't fathom what else I could do to be more obsessed with their tiny little beings.
And for that, I obviously have my husband to thank, for working so hard so I can stay home with my babies, my mom to thank, for teaching me by example as she raised her babies, and my dad. My dad, who passed away so far beyond way too early. Who's last days and moments I have broken apart and analyzed and memorized just for the sake of trying to make his life last longer. What I wouldn't give to make it last longer. I have my dad to thank for so many things in my life, but quite possibly the greatest being the knowledge that time, and life, are such precious, precious gifts. For his loss makes me cherish the here and now in such a detailed, broken down, moment-by-moment way. While I wouldn't wish this kind of loss on anyone, I do have to say it is also one of the greatest gifts a person could be given. Every present I could possibly have given him would seem so pale in comparison. Happy Birthday Daddy!!!
Tonight's dessert: German Chocolate Cupcakes in his honor.