(note added after post was written: I feel like I’ve been on a string of more serious posts here…I promise my next post will be more light hearted (!), but today I am thinking about “Dee”.)
I confess that I know very little about some religious holidays, such as “All Saints Day” and “All Souls Day”. I want the kids to know about these special religious days, which means I need to know something (anything!)
From what I know about All Souls Day (Nov. 2), it seems like an appropriate day to flip through some old family photo albums, tell each of my kids one thing my dad (“Dee”, who passed away 2.5 years ago) would have loved about each of them, and then together say a special prayer for my dad?
I think I am going to tell E today that my dad would have loved watching her run across the field behind our house.
Relevant memory: I was required by coaches throughout middle school, high school and college to run as part of my training for basketball, and my dad was my eternal encourager: holding the stopwatch when I had to do intervals, measuring distances in the car when I had to run in new locales (like while on family vacations), and insisting that he should follow me in the car when I waited until too late (i.e. until after dark) to do my runs.
E loves to have people count how many seconds it takes her to run across the field. It is impossible to emphasize how much my dad would have loved sitting in a chair on our back porch and doing that for her. Feeling the joy of being her grandfather; and (in the years that were harder for him to be mobile), being able to sit for hours and bring such joy to this out of breath, ever-running child.
E, he would have sat and counted for you as long as you wanted, and you would both have been blissfully happy.
I think I am going to tell S today how much my dad would have loved her company, especially in the mornings.
Relevant memory: I spent almost every morning of my childhood sitting on the floor of my dad’s enormous bathroom while he got ready for work. That room had it’s own heater in the ceiling, and my dad always set it on high in the mornings, making it (by far) the warmest room in the house. I would wake up every morning, and immediately walk to his bathroom and sit under the vent. He had green towels that he kept in there, and he would let me wrap up in them to get really warm, and then he would lay one on top of my head and declare me “his little green mountain”. My dad was slow in the mornings – rising early and taking hours to get ready. I rose early and sat there for hours. He would play this great music, sometimes “oldies”, sometimes “bluegrass”, and sometimes these old spirituals… Anyway, I would stay in my warm little towel cave as long as possible, usually until he had to leave for work (or – once I was old enough – until I had to get ready for school.)
S is exactly that type of kid. Yesterday morning she was calling for her dad to come hide under the covers with her at 6:15am because the house was too cold and because she loves her daddy. Tonight, she didn’t want her hair combed after her bath because “I like being here on the floor curled up in these towels.” At this stage of life, S warms up slowly (literally and figuratively), and once she has warmed (in a cozy space or to a person) she stays put. I am like that, and I get that from my dad. He would have loved turning S into his little green mountain.
I think I am going to tell T that my dad would have loved meeting him.
T is the only one of my kids who was never held by my dad, since “Dee” died a little over a year before T’s arrival. At the same time, T is the kid who most embodies my dad physically, with that dark hair and those blue eyes. If my dad had seen those features in miniature, I think he would have begun spoiling T rotten right then. It is a reminder to me that I should give something to T on behalf of my dad: maybe a photo (maybe a small, T-sized copy of the one of Dee in his basketball uniform?)
T, if your “Dee” was still here, in addition to that photo, he would make sure you had a good grasp of
(a) all the family stories (no one could tell them like he could…though there are entire sections of family lore missing because those are the parts that got my dad laughing so hard that no one could understand what he was saying!),
(b) everything related to Alabama athletics (he was a second generation team captain for “the University”…), and
(c) a steady supply of icing. (Dee ate his cupcakes like you do… all of the frosting, none of the cake.)
He would also have thrilled you by giving you an endless stream of your favorite greeting: your tiny version of the “high five”.
Prayers for you today, Dee. In my minimal research about All Souls Day, I learned that I need to pray for you – and all souls – more often.
I wish we were in Alabama for the day, so the kids could help us place a few flowers on the grave in honor of you and All Souls Day.
In lieu of that, we are going to draw flowers and say a prayer for “Dee”. If you are praying for souls today, please include a much-loved and missed “Dee” on your prayer list!