Lessons From Daddy

mow

Every day I think about my dad.  Today is no different from any other in that way, but today I was reminded of one of the many lessons that he taught me.  My parents only had girls, and dad especially, never wanted us to rely on anyone but ourselves in this life.  Don’t get me wrong, he hoped and prayed that we’d find partners in life that would be just that…partners, and we did, but he never wanted us to be less than self sufficient.  It was instilled in us from a very young age.  One of the ways he did that was by making us mow the lawn.  Yes, I said it.  Our dad made us mow the lawn and oh how we hated this chore.  We couldn’t even hope for a tan, because he insisted we wear jeans for protection from possible flying debris.  We used a push lawn mower, too.  There was only a brief time while I was still home that a riding lawnmower was introduced, and there’s a story and a lesson that came with that, too.  I’ll save it for another day.

Today was beautiful.  I returned home after a workout sweaty and tired and decided that I would tackle our front yard.  My husband takes pride in cutting our lawn and honestly, he does an amazing job, so I rarely even think about the task.  Well, I’m really good at telling him how great of a job he did,  and even better at rewarding him with an ice cold beverage.  (it’s the southern lady in me)  This afternoon, as I struggled to get the push lawnmower out of the shed and push it to the front yard, I questioned if I was really up for it, but I knew it would be a nice surprise for my husband and I also wanted an excuse to stay outside and avoid any other work, so I pushed on.  Since the weather has been warm and gorgeous lately, the grass wasn’t overall bad, but it had sprouts of weeds poking here and there that certainly were not pretty.  I guess it’s time to address the weeds that have wondered into our yard, as well.  Anyway, halfway through struggling through the front yard I remembered a Saturday long ago.  Saturday mornings were the day of the week to cut the lawn, if we were in town.  This particular Saturday was one that my teenage self had plans on that had nothing to do with yard work.  I remember the angst I felt at having to do this chore before I could leave.  I practically ran while I mowed the endless lines of grass in the backyard and in no time I was done.  I raced to the back door with a huge smile of relief ready to take a shower and go about my super fun day with my friends, but was quickly greeted by my dad.  He met me at the door and turned me around.  I was bewildered and confused, but he quickly made me understand.  My “super fast” job was not as wonderful as I had thought.  He pointed out how I had not overlapped my lines and there were sprigs of grass sticking up all over the backyard.  I felt the weight of the world at that moment.  Not only did I have to clean those sprigs up, but as part of the lesson he made me cut the whole backyard over again while he watched.   I remember fuming inside.  How dare he make me do this task again.  I had friends to hang out with.  I had important things to do.  As I finally finished my second round of mowing, my dad greeted me and asked me what I had learned.  Begrudgingly I admitted that in my rush I had failed to do a good job.  He looked at me with the kindest eyes and said that every job we take on in life should be done the best way we can do it.  We should always worry about the quality of our work, because it bears our name.  In my haste to mow a quantity of grass in a short time, I had not done a quality job.  It was still hard to look at him with understanding then, and at that age, but to this day it has stuck with me.  I also remember that he pointed out how great the yard looked after my second attempt.  Quality will almost always win over quantity.  It’s just one of those lessons on my mind today.  Thanks dad.

104 Days

That’s how long it has been since my sweet, wonderful daddy passed away. My brain still has trouble wrapping itself around that fact. I feel a little bit more like my “old self” these days, but I still have a multitude of moments where the loss hits me so hard that I feel like I can’t breathe.
My sister and I have worked really hard to take care of our mom, his business, his employees…his stuff. I can honestly say that having so much on our plates has helped me get up every day. The day after his funeral we were hard at work taking care of these things.
As a testament to his character; we’ve been taken aback by the ease of which dad’s customers have worked with us to close out their accounts. We’ve tried our best to direct them to new suppliers and I’ve hugged each and every one of them. Dad was loved by his customers. The process of talking to his customers has been very cathartic for both my sister and myself.
Our dad never meant for his girls to work in the sawmill industry and so we never learned much about it. We can’t help but laugh when we imagine dad looking down on us and giggling at our facial expressions each time someone asks for a chipper or debarker part. A huge part of me is grateful for this learning experience. I can actually say that I’ve walked many days in my father’s shoes now. I didn’t think it was possible to respect my dad more than I already did, but I do. He was more of a magician than I gave him credit.
But I do have one gripe, “Why is it so flipping hard to close a deceased person’s account”? I won’t say who the difficult provider was, but I’ll say it was something like BG&G. Three Months! Three months straight I’ve talked with every poor soul that bothered to pick up the customer service line there. I’ve explained countless times that my dad passed away unexpectedly and that he no longer needs internet service. I’ve explained this to so many people. I’ve been transferred over and over again. Each one has the same response, “What’s the passcode”? Ummmmm, really????? I’ve guessed at the pass code many times. I’ve cried. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’ve raised my voice. If you have a copy of someones death certificate…why is this not enough?
My sister offered to drive to the local store and take over after I admitted to her that I had pretty much screamed at a stranger there. I’m not proud. Anyway, she took off yesterday with her certified copy of the death certificate and the bill. She was ready to help out her big sister. (thanks little stink) She confidently strode over to the manager, who surprisingly was not falling all over himself to help her out. She explained how we had tried for three months over the phone to cancel the service to no avail, and you know what he said to her? “Ma’am, you’ll still have to call, but you can sit here to do it” OMG. She sat down, with only a few ruffled feathers poking out of her coat. She made the call. When she repeatedly told the service rep that she didn’t have the pass code, the manager sitting across from her took pity on her and got on the phone. He explained that she was in the store with a certified death certificate. He now had a vested interest in our plight. Three store managers got involved. No one could cancel the service. My sister inhaled deeply and got back on the phone. They finally gave her a hint to what the pass code might be and it came to her. Yep. Just like that, she had figured out his pass code and they were able to cancel the service. We will be getting a final bill in the mail soon. Wow. It only took 104 days.

men laughing

I Could Drink a Case of This

Coffee and the River
Coffee and the River

I don’t mean the coffee; I mean the view and the peace I feel when I’m at the river.
Many years ago I was driving home from college when it started to gently snow. At the same time Joni Mitchell’s I Could Drink a Case of You, (the rock version) started playing on the radio. My dog, a rescued Chinese Shar pei sat beside me and I was overwhelmed by the calm and love that inundated my being.
The sounds of nature bring me immense joy. Sometimes it’s intensified by music, like on that trip home. I have a propensity towards solitude. People who know me closely understand this about me. I’m blessed to have a partner who understands my need for alone time. It heals and balances me.
As many of my friends and family know, I’ve been balancing more on my plate than I’m used to balancing. Let me also say that I’m intensely aware that many others experience or are experiencing many more difficult hardships. I’m aware and I pray for them.
Over the weekend, the hubs and I were able to knock out some projects that were weighing on us. Due to the hurricane last month, we lost the end of the pier at the family cottage. When the pier went, so did the electrical that went to the boat house that housed my dad’s boat. Winter is approaching and we feared we were running out of time to retrieve dad’s boat from the water safely and winterize it.
Saturday morning we both woke up with a combination of fear and drive. I kept hearing my sister’s voice in my head saying,”We’ve got this” And so we did. We loaded the first trailer of storm debris and hauled it away and then purchased and loaded wood to rebuild the end of the pier. Each time we knocked something out, I smiled and thanked God and Daddy for looking down on us with favor. (my journey; my thoughts) Next up we were back at the cottage and in no time:

From the lone board that was left to repaired!
From the lone board that was left to repaired!

My husband repaired the electrical and we hoped and prayed individually that the motor on the boat lift would still work. It did! We lowered the boat and silently prayed again that the motor on the boat would start. The tide is high this time of year and the water was rough. I watched him set off and couldn’t help but tear up as I wondered if this might be the last time I would see dad’s boat in the water.

Jerry's Dream
Jerry’s Dream

This boat holds 30 plus years of memories. My sister and I took countless fishing trips with dad on this boat. I learned to slolem ski behind this boat and hydroslide and trick ski. I attempted a lot of cool, fun things behind this boat. Dad loved boating, skiing and fishing. He made my sister and I love the water. I think we’re both drawn to it.

Daddy with his girls
Daddy with his girls

I’m beyond thankful for the life my father gave me. I look back on my childhood and I can’t think of anything I needed. (Wanted…yes, but never a need that he didn’t meet) I’m thankful for the forty plus years he graced my life. I’m thankful for the view of the river that serves as a reminder of what hard work and dreams can give you. I’m saddened by the truth that he will not retire here as he wished. When I look out on the river I think, “I could drink a case of this.”

Mr. Sugarbears and his best friend Chubs
Mr. Sugarbears and his best friend Chubs

Time for Me

I’ve arrived at daddy’s favorite place, the cottage. I’m going to stare at the water with Mr. Sugarbears, drink a little beer and be thankful tonight.  I’m sending  peaceful thoughts to the world.

Daddy's Sanctuary
Daddy’s Sanctuary

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He ran straight for the water and was swimming before I had unloaded. #mrsugarbears
He ran straight for the water and was swimming before I had unloaded. #mrsugarbears

Good Enough

My Daddy
My Daddy

It’s so hard to write when your heart is hurting, which is why I’ve been silent for a few weeks. My daddy recently passed away unexpectedly and I’m sad and angry, but I’m starting to feel the compression on my chest lift. I can’t imagine feeling normal again.
My mother requested that I write his eulogy and speak at his funeral. I still can’t believe that I did it. I hope it was good enough.
The night my daddy passed away, his truck was fully loaded with deliveries. He was still running the family business. He was home by 9pm that night from a hard days work for “date night” with momma.
When my mom asked me to write his eulogy, I was still in shock, as were she and my sister. I agreed with hesitation. I tried and tried to write down what I thought would be appropriate. I stayed up very late the night before the funeral trying to put it down on paper. The next morning I woke to a pile of papers that either spoke about my pain or spoke only of his accolades. I just couldn’t get it together, but then I didn’t have a choice. I had to honor my dad and I couldn’t let my mom down.
My husband took pity on me as I sobbed about it. He looked over all of the scattered papers and simply said to me, “It’s all here, you just need to write an outline and put it back together”. He took my hand and pulled me outside. We sat on the front porch breathing in the fresh air and he let me just be.
My husband was very close with my dad and I’d even venture to say that they were best friends. I knew he was in great pain, too. As we both stared straight ahead looking at the park across the street, he started the sweetest reminiscing. He laughed a little as he talked about dad. Dad was one of a kind. Dad always ended every conversation with, “Good Enough”. I can still hear it in my mind right now the way his sweet voice would utter the words. We laughed about all the meanings of it. Sometimes it was simply that he was done with the conversation and had to get onto another project. Sometimes it was simply that the cold coffee or burned toast was good enough. He was always happy with the least for himself.
He spent his life taking care of his family, his church, his business, his neighbors, his alma mater…strangers. Daddy was amazing.
Thanks to my brother-in-law, Freebird, we had dad make a bucket list two years ago. It was a short one, but he finished it. He wanted to drive at Nascar, so we set it up and watched him do it. (144 miles per hour) He wanted a 1959 Plymouth Fury, so he bought not one, but two. The first one just wasn’t quite right. That was it. He didn’t want for much. He felt his life was more than enough.
He married my mom in 1968 and she was always his girl. Their love was quite extraordinary. I can’t imagine her pain. Mine feels so overwhelming, but I know somehow hers must be worse.
His alma mater that he loved so much, Methodist University, lowered their flags half-staff the entire weekend after he passed. Past and present presidents of the university attended his service. They awarded him last year with an Outstanding service award, but I guess I didn’t realize how much they loved him. But then again, why wouldn’t they?
My parents moved a couple of years ago to be close to me and my sister. My dad still had a home that he was unable to sell and was still running a business there. He tried his best to make it to momma every Thursday night and would spend a long weekend in town visiting his girls (my sister and I), hugging on his grandchildren and tinkering on all kinds of things.
He and momma found a local church that brought them immense pleasure. Momma would actually plan matching outfits for them on Sundays. Daddy went along with it happily. I have been overwhelmed with the love and support that the church has lavished on momma. I’m so thankful.
Although I live in the same neighborhood as my parents, I rarely visit with my neighbors. I come and go so much, but not my parents. They know them all and love them all. They too have been such a blessing. Just yesterday one of them came over and mowed mom’s yard while my sister and I were checking in on her. I see and feel so much kindness and I’m so grateful.
My sister and I are working to close daddy’s business the right way. I’m not sure if we are, but we are trying our best to honor our dad, his customers and his employees. We’ve made some cosmetic changes to the house there and hope that it will help facilitate some new interest. We just want to get through it and focus on taking care of momma and dare I say, ourselves. Yesterday was a good day and I hope to have many more.
For now, I hold in my heart that my daddy was a wonderful man and that he did not suffer as so many do. I hold in my heart the gratitude that he made it to momma that Thursday night, even if it was 9pm. He was there, as promised. He took a long, hot shower and kissed his bride. He snuggled into his recliner with his new car catalogue and perhaps thought, “Good Enough”.

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Celebrating With Daddy

Fishing with daddy seventies style.
Fishing with daddy seventies style.

I’m reading a book right now that a dear friend recommended.  It’s called Tattoos on the Heart.  It was written by Father Boyle who started Home Boy Industries.  http://www.homeboyindustries.org/ He’s been working with gangs in LA for close to thirty years now.  This book is full of his stories about the families that he has been able to save and the ones that he has lost. It’s funny and heartbreaking.  I find myself giggling and crying on the same page.

My reason for bringing it up is that I was blessed to have been born to parents who really wanted me and did everything they could to be good parents.  It hurts my heart to think of the children that Father Boyle looked after having such difficult lives; to not feel safe when they walked into their homes,  to not have three meals a day.  My father is not a rich man, but he certainly did everything he could to give his children and his wife a great life.  Well done, dad.

My dad is in his seventies now and still has not found a way to fully retire.  I worry about him.  My sister worries about him and my mom worries about him.  It’s time for him to relax.  He’s worked so hard for so long.  My heart is happiest when I see him swinging on the hammock with his grandbabies, or swinging on the porch swing with momma.  There’s such a sweet soul in this man.  I keep telling mom and dad that I hope they’ll save room for me in their mansion in heaven.

Yesterday was Father’s Day and we all went to the family cottage for the weekend to celebrate.  It started with me picking up momma Friday morning to drive her there.

Road trip with momma
Road trip with momma

We left early on Friday to get there.  Daddy had gone down early Thursday night after getting out of work so that he could open everything up.  Momma and daddy don’t have as much time together as they used to.  Mom and dad are living together part-time while daddy struggles to close his business and sell my childhood home.  Mom lives one block away from me and my sister is less than 3 miles away.  I love having her so close.  I feel better knowing that if she needs me, I’m close by and my sister’s children are able to get to know their grandmother.  If only we could get daddy here more.  Needless to say, they are anxious on the weekends to see each other.  They’ve been married since 1968 and up until a few years ago, they were living in the same town.  It’s been a hard transition for both of them.

Daddy watching the storm come in.
Daddy watching the storm come in.

I watched a large storm roll in Friday night with thunder rumbling in the distance.  My dad, of course had to walk outside onto the pier while I looked on in horror anticipating the lightning.

The rest of the family showed up late on Friday night and we did little more than hug, unpack cars and go to sleep.  Saturday morning we loaded up the kiddos on our boat and daddy took my sister and her husband over to our favorite spot on the beach.  It’a a little island where my dad taught us all to water ski as children.  We call it Ski beach.  We’re creative like that.  🙂

Jeremiah driving our boat.
Jeremiah driving our boat.

Our nephew, Jeremiah loves to drive the boat.  (Don’t worry, Uncle B is always right beside him and in control).  We spent most of the morning and early afternoon playing in the water with the kids and talking with daddy on the beach.  It was perfect.

Chicken fights are always fun.
Chicken fights are always fun.

My sister and brother-in-law cooked us all a fantastic meal Saturday night.  My nephew Jeremiah made dessert. He made it special for his dad and Papaw.

Jeremiah made a Father's Day pie for his dad and his Papaw.
Jeremiah made a Father’s Day pie for his dad and his Papaw.

I spent a lot of time hugging my sister.  I really can’t get enough of her.  I’ve finally joined the Fitbit world, so she and I spent a lot of time walking, too.  We are both pretty competetive.  I’ve challenged her today to a walk off.

Me and my sister.
Me and my sister.

So how did you spend your Father’s Day weekend?  I really enjoyed celebrating with daddy.

Precious Time

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Yesterday, while many were celebrating Memorial Day at the beach or cooking out, I spent the day with my dad building a treehouse for my nephew.  It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.  My dad had a plan to replicate the same treehouse that he built by himself, for my sister and I when we were children.  We loved that treehouse so much.  It was our private world.

Construction begins
Construction begins

We started the day at dad’s house prepping everything.  We cut all of the boards so that all we would have to do at my sister’s house was to bolt it all together in the tree.  My dad had gone over to her house the day before and placed the posts and set them in concrete.

Stage 1
Stage 1

I felt pretty relieved after this was set.  I wasn’t sure what my 40 something year old body was capable of when it came to construction.  I’ve also watched a lot of Treehouse Masters that had me imagining that we needed heavy equipment.  Haha.  Obviously, their treehouses are a lot more elaborate, but in my mind…

Starting to take shape
Starting to take shape

At this point, I was feeling pretty confident and to be honest, I was getting pretty excited at the thought that we could actually pull this off.  I was also smiling a lot with my dad.  We worked really great together.  He makes a great leader in so many ways.

Checking out our hinges
Checking out our hinges

The sides open on both sides.  One side gives the kids a view of their backyard and their house.  The other view is of this cool field behind them where the neighbors are working on a community garden.  I’m imagining many baseball and football games there in the future.  We plan to put shingles on both sides, but my dad thought that my sister and the kiddos should have input on those.

And then they came home…

I think he likes it.
I think he likes it.

Last night as I thought about my day, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for the time I had spent with my dad building the treehouse.  I thought about all of the time that my sister and I had shared together in our treehouse.  It seems like yesterday that we were in there giggling with our friends.  None of us know what tomorrow will bring us.  Time is so very precious.

He Inspires Me To Be A Better Person

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Have you ever been recognized for your dedication to a project, someone or something? Yesterday my dad was awarded by Methodist University for his outstanding service.
He graduated from Methodist in 1965 and has worked tirelessly since then as an alumni, as a trustee, and a board member to make Methodist an even better place. It truly brings him joy to see the Universities growth and fires him up to think of its potential.
The day started with an awards ceremony in the auditorium, where my father and three other people were honored. Linda Huff, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award was first. She was introduced by President Hancock of the university. I listened as he spoke of her years of service to the school and to the community and watched as she fought back tears while listening. Next Dr. Clayton introduced my father as the award recipient for Outstanding Service. My heart grew and my eyes swelled with tears as I watched my father walk to the podium. I had not prepared myself for his humble acceptance words and I was overtaken with pride as I listened to his dreams for the university. I’ve always known without a doubt the importance of the school to my dad, but somehow I really missed the whole picture. Like my fathers love for his wife, family, church and community, Methodist University was and is a life long commitment. He loves this school so much! He told me that the prior night he had a young man walk up to him and thank him for giving him his Greatest Gift.
The Greatest Gift Scholarship is unique to the university in that an alumni can award this to a prospective student. My dad takes this responsibility very seriously. He knows the value of an education and he wants to see everyone do well.
Howard Hudson was also recognized as an outstanding alumni for his service to athletics at the university. He raises money through many avenues, but golf really is his thing. My favorite shared memory he spoke of was his first golf game where he teamed up with the then new President Hancock. He said he just wanted to get to know the president. He said he found out first that he was a terrible golfer, but he said by the third hole he’d found out what truly mattered. He asked the president what pushed him each day and the presidents reply was, “creation” to which Mr. Hudson questioned what he meant by that. President Hancock told him the sparks he saw each day in students eyes…the creation that was happening in them each day. I’d say this guy is a keeper, too.
Lastly, Pastor William Walker was presented with the Outstanding Faculty Award. He was introduced by Mrs. Munoz, a colleague of his. At this point, I think everyone in the audience had already broken out their tissues and hankies, but this last introduction took the cake. This man is Dean of Student Affairs and it’s a job that can make you loved while simultaneously make you not so loved. It takes an extremely fair person to sit in his chair. The reverence in his voice as he humbly accepted his award was enough to make the toughest of men cry.
After the awards ceremony, we were all invited to attend a special luncheon at the Burns Center. The food was delicious! Being that it was also homecoming weekend, the excitement in the air was palpable. The kiddos got their faces painted while we waited for Mom and dad to finish their tv interview. I assume one of the universities Fine Art majors was doing them, because wow! See for yourself:image
After lunch we were invited to join mom and dad in the Presidents box to watch the football game. They had great food, drinks, and free swag. I watched my husband as he and President Hancock gave each other high fives throughout the game and felt a little giddy. My dad’s brother and wife joined us for the day and I loved watching them cheer on MU together.
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My sister and I gushed with pride as so many came up to us to tell us how wonderful our dad was and how much he is appreciated. Of course we have always known how great our dad is, but it sure is nice to see him honored for it. Selfie time:
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At halftime they introduced dad on the field and the tears welled again. My heart is so full of pride for this man. This man I’m blessed to call my dad. He inspires me to be a better person. I love you dad!
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Happy 4th With the Fam

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Traditions are important for so many reasons. My dad loves them. Fourth of July is always celebrated at the family beach house. We have a great view of the downtown fireworks from our pier. Last night the fireworks were canceled due to the hurricane that had passed through the previous night. We were far from disappointed, though. After staring at the weather channel for 48 hours anticipating the horrors of what was in store for us, finding the cottage and city damage free was all the celebration we needed. My parents, in true Keen form, decided to go early and ride out the storm. It’s always stressful knowing that your parents could be in harms way. Of course when I called again at ten pm when I saw the red directly over the city and listened as the meteorologists spoke about the 100 miles per hour squalls, my dad answered (clearly I woke him up) and said, we are fine. The worst had passed.” I breathed a sigh of relief and told him I would be there first thing in the morning. The hubs and I packed the generator and lots of tools in preparation of a power outage and lots of debris cleanup. We pulled out of our driveway at 6am. As hard as it was, I waited until seven am to call again. We were well on our way at that point and when I called, my dad answered with his jovial self shining through the phone. My heart smiled and I thanked God for keeping my family safe. My dad said they had no damage and it was beautiful.

The rest of the drive was much easier. The music got louder, as well as my singing, and the remainder of the drive flew by. When we arrived, my dad was sporting a sweatband, shirtless and mowing. I walked swiftly to him and hugged his sweaty self, again thanking God for his mercy.

It was weird, as if nothing was off. Mom was more worried that we heat up the chicken kabobs she had prepared than discuss the hurricane that had just passed through. Rather than harp on how scared they had made me by staying for the storm, I just went about my normal beach routine. We put the boat in the water, loaded the cooler and took off for a nice ride. My sister and family showed up a couple of hours later. We took them for a ride and then went back to the cottage and cooked the standard fourth food. We gorged ourselves on hamburgers and hotdogs and drank a few too many beers. As the sun was setting, my sister and I took the dogs for a walk. As we were returning, we heard loud fireworks. We couldn’t believe the city had decided to have the fireworks. We got the kiddos up and raced outside, only to find it was our neighbors shooting off amazing fireworks. They were incredible! The reflection of fireworks in the kiddos smiling eyes erased every stressful worry I had felt in the previous 48 hours. As I laid my head down that night and looked over at my sleeping dog and husband, I breathed a sigh of relief and smiled a happy smile of thanks for another 4th with the fam.

He’s the Mac Daddy

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Okay, he’s not the Mac Daddy described in the Urban Dictionary of today, but he’s the best dad and friend anyone could dream.  He definitely set the bar high for my sister and I to find a suitable life partner.  And I think we did pretty dang good.  They were both “daddy approved” many years ago.

My husband, Mr. Sugarbears-aka, our dog, and I spent the weekend at the family beach cottage with my dad, mom, sister and her kids.  Instead of putting our boat in the water, we just spent the weekend with dad and his boat.  It’s the boat my sister and I spent many years being pulled on waterskis, wakeboards, hydro-slides, trick skis, saucers….you name it.  It’s the boat that will always feel like home to us.  Daddy used to pull all of our cousins, too.  He taught us all how to ski, how to fish for Spanish Mackerel and mostly how to love and respect the water.

Something about the combination of being at the cottage and spending the weekend playing with the family opened something up inside me.  There is most certainly a small amount of stress related to spending 48 plus hours with your family, but what I find really amazing is the way my heart feels a relief after spending that time together.  I feel such a comfort from being surrounded by such  great love.  My dad has always put his family first and truly loves us.  He swings on his hammock and listens while my sister and I giggle with the kids.  He sits in his chair under the umbrella and watches while my husband and I fiddle with the anchor lines and throw the children around in the ocean.  He sits with the neighbors and tells them stories of his seventy years spent looking at this same view.  He still takes them bbq and looks after their properties as they do ours.  He dotes on momma and delivers her coffee in the morning with a piece of buttered toast.  He then takes our husbands out for some gas station breakfast while my sister and I eat yogurt with the kids.  He’s what all men should be.  He is kind.  He is loving.  He is generous.  He is spiritual.  He is the Mac Daddy.