Thursday, December 29, 2011

Man In The Moon

When we were younger, our dad would pick one lucky kid each night to carry outside and admire the starry sky. But he wouldn't just pick you up and take you outside. He made a long, drawn out ordeal out of it and we loved it. Usually he would start with a selection process that utilized eenie meenie miny mo. He would then lie the chosen child down onto an open blanket and wrap us up like a burrito. This took several minutes as he would spend time meticulously tucking in all of the corners, starting over if need be.

Once the selection and preparation process was over he would lift our 40 pound frames acting like we were the heaviest things on earth and, knowing he was overexaggerating, we'd yell, "Daddy, I'm not that heavy!!!" Laughing he would bring us out onto the back porch, prop us on the railing, and we would spend forever looking up at the stars. We'd wonder what was out there, neither one of us more intellegent on the subject than the other. And it was in those moments where I knew that his whole world revolved around me as if I was the center of the universe. Content in this thought I would fall asleep there in his arms under the sky and he'd eventually carry me to bed.

It is because of these memories that I've thought of "purchasing" a star in his name. However, through a fairly detailed search of different companies in the business of selling stars and reviewing the International Austronomical Union website, I realized that there is no such thing as naming a star after someone. No company actually owns the rights to sell a star so you are essentially paying for the paper the "certificate" is printed on. The only way to truly name a star is by discovering a brand new, never before seen star. Then, the several-year process of verfiying it's actually a star must be done before you are listed as the discoverer and can then pick a name. Needless to say, I decided against naming a star after my dad and simply chose a well known object in the sky instead. And thinking about it, my dad isn't just one tiny speck in the night sky, he has to be the biggest thing that you can see. So about a year ago I decided that he would be my moon.

Every time I look up I see it and say, "hi dad" or "goodnight dad". I'm comforted in the steadfast belief knowledge that he's perched up there on the moon watching me while I sleep, keeping me comfort during the loneliest hours of the day.

Since making this decision there have been numerous occasions where I've known he was there. This past August, just a few days shy of his one year anniversary, we took a trip out to Rattlesnake Island on Lake Erie with the in-laws. All afternoon it had been cloudy and rainy. By 10pm, while it was still cloudy, the rain had let up and there were about seven of us sitting out on the deck by the pool listening to the music coming from the jukebox in the bar as we chatted. It was pitch black and began thinking about how much my dad would enjoy sitting there with us. As I often do while listening to music since my dad died, I started to cry. Quietly so no one could hear me, but still, full on tears streaming down my face. 

The actual photo from that moment (as well as the one above)
Right as it was about to turn into a full-blown, audible cry (despite my attempts to avoid it because I had an audience) I kid you not, the clouds parted revealing a nearly-full moon, reflecting beautifully off the lake. Simultaneously, the song "Dancing in the Moonlight" began playing on the jukebox. Tears streaming down my face, I began to laugh. The song to follow also had "moon" in the title, but I can't remember it.
While that wasn't the first time I'd been convinced my dad is still here watching over me, it certainly was a much-needed affirmation during that dark night.

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