I know the picture quality is terrible...I'm pretty sure Noble had licked my phone or something. That's Noble with Grandpa, on Good Friday 2009. We took Dad to HEB there in Deer Park to pick up a few groceries. The next morning we got up, went and had breakfast at their favorite Mexican place, then went to Lowe's and bought plants for their back porch. Dad supervised James and Kayci's planting, and he was pretty well worn out by the time everyone got there for an early Easter dinner.
And a week later, he was gone.
I have faith, and I know God has a plan and Dad's death has nothing at all to do with me. I know it's a part of life, and life goes on. And it has--it has to. That toddler in the picture up there? He was still 17 days away from walking. Now he's old enough to buckle his own seatbelt and count, mostly, to 20. His sister turned 8 yesterday, and instead of a party she wanted to go to the Downtown Aquarium, just the four of us. But it wasn't just the four of us there, because I turned the corner and I could see Dad standing there, in my mind's eye, holding baby Kayci. I could see him dressed up in his starched Polo oxford and black Dockers, excited about a night out to celebrate James' raise. I could smell his cologne. But I couldn't see him, and I couldn't talk to him...and it's moments like those, even though they're rare these days, that can bring me to my knees. I miss my Dad. I miss my children's Grandpa. I miss my husband's father-in-law. I miss my Mom's husband, and my brothers' Dad. I miss everything he was, good and bad. I miss him.
My Dad was a good man, and the best father he knew how to be. I have to say, he got better at it as he--and we--got older. He loved, loved being a Grandpa from the moment he found out Ronny and Amy were pregnant, and for the six kids that would follow (between the three of us, there are seven grandkids). We were lucky enough to see him and Mom almost every day for the first two years and eleven months of Kayci's life, until we moved to Brenham. Even then, Kayci and I spent half of every week at their house in Houston while I worked, and they spent a fair amount of time in Brenham. Dad would come out whenever we needed a babysitter, or when James was out of town, or when Kayci had a special day at school...we could depend on him, and we did. As is usually the case, I didn't know exactly how much I depended on him until he was no longer able to babysit, and he wasn't around to answer my questions about how long to cook this or that.
If my Dad was alive today, we would have given him "True Grit" for his father's day gift. That's a given. He would have gone with James to the movie to see it, and before that, he would have been so excited when James called to say he'd run into the crew during filming that fall in the hill country. Mom would still have a new bag for an anniversary gift, and Dad still wouldn't have gone to the store to pick it out--but he would have given her his blessing. :) I would have called him as soon as I woke up this morning, probably even before James could open his gifts, because I would have known he was waiting. I'll just tell you Dad, the movie is pretty awesome, even for a remake. You would have liked the new Rooster, and would have talked about the movie for days, I'm sure. And I probably would have gotten tired of listening, and I probably would have tried to change the subject...and you probably would have brought it up again, later. Right?
I don't know where to go from here, so I think I'll pack it in and head to bed. After I wake my Boy up, of course.
Good night, and happy father's day to all the dads out there! Just a word of advice: every day matters--use them wisely, and joyously. Life is too short to hold grudges and create drama.