I wonder why I have often chosen to see the black dot on the white page, to find the faults in others, and vent my frustrations with myself and my everyday life. And then, when at the risk of losing the things that comprise who I am, I truly recognize the intimate worth of what I value most.
As I’ve grown and searched for my independence from my parents, I have often treated them as if they were in my way, as if their advice is annoying and imposing, often being rude and stubborn. Even with all their love and best intentions, I would see them as the black dot on my white page.
But, over the last few months, as my Dad’s life slowly came to a rest, I came to cherish every moment with him, every phone call, every kiss, every hug, and even his counsel. I learned that he could be my Dad, my friend, my advisor. That his wisdom far surpassed my years and experience. Memories came flooding back and the black dot faded, my white page is now clean with all that I cherish.
I remember how my Dad carried both Diane and me up the stairs to bed at night. How he danced us each around the room, swinging us to “Dance to your Daddy, my little lassie, Dance to your Daddy, my little lassie…” and then tucking me in, pulling my blankets as tight as they would go, they way I felt most secure. And, then he’d softly sing Brahms Lullaby, making up his own lyrics, never remembering the original verses. He created names and songs for Marc’s stuffed animals, and stories of “once upon a time”. He read us Dr. Seuss books and fairytales. And, every Sunday Diane and I would snuggle up next to him on the couch while he read the Sunday comics, or jokes as he called them, creating voices for all the comic strip characters like Beetle Bailey, Hagar the Horrible, and Andy Cap.
I remember on summer nights how he patiently helped us search for and kill the multitudes of mosquitoes buzzing in our ears, disturbing our sleep, no matter what time of night. When thunderstorms roared through our windows, he came in and comfortingly sang me a song, and the storm would magically subside. We even had our own special tooth fairy, a Pookah, the 6 foot rabbit that left money under our pillow in exchange for our missing teeth.
My Dad took bountiful pictures and movies of everything we did, leaving us with precious memories of our lives together. Birthday parties; plays we performed in our basement that we transformed into a stage; my awkward ballet performance at the age of 5 when I danced as a rose blooming in the middle of our living room while the oblivious Diane deliriously shadowed my every move. Our vacations out west, to Florida to visit my grandparents, to Maine, and the most treasured Cape Cod. And we took pictures upon pictures of his grandchildren while he adorned them with hugs, laughter, kisses and love. Spoiling them with gifts and attention and time together.
He taught us to play tennis and guitar, to mow the lawn, to do chores, to manage money, and to always take responsibility for our actions. But the most precious gifts were how he hugged us, kissed us, carried us, applauded us, listened to us and shared his wisdom and unconditional love, accepting only our admiration and respect in return.
I truly admired my Dad for his honesty, his generosity, his inner strength, his pride and his determination to overcome adversity after adversity and still cherish life in all its splendor. His memory, his life, his essence, will live on forever as I share with my children all the songs he sung, all the laughter we shared, all the fun times we made, and all the insightful advice he provided for generations to come.
The love he gave as a father, he held even deeper as a grandfather. He loved you Zach, Jason and Hailey, more than you could ever imagine. And with that same passion, I love my family. Dad, Mom, Marc, Diane, Jay, Jason, Hailey, Zach, Deanie, and Dean. It is an honor to be part of a family where the love and bond is so strong. Thank you all for your support during this bittersweet time. And Dad, you will always be with me, always be with us. ALL WAYS.
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Last Updated: January 17, 2007