Wednesday, November 27, 2013

20 years.

My parents and I lived in a little apartment in Germany when I was a toddler. My Dad was serving in the Army during the Vietnam War. He was drafted when I was six months old.

My little crib was at the end of their bed. I would launch from the rails as soon as they were asleep and find my comfy spot wiggled down between them. It would be my favorite sleeping spot long after we returned home.

According to my mom, I did not reach one milestone while we were separated from my Dad. I skipped crawling and went straight to walking when we were reunited in Germany the day after my first birthday. I had just been sitting for six months. Only sitting.

Twenty years ago today, my precious Daddy died. He was only 49. I was 25 and my brothers were 19 and 14. We all still needed our Dad. (And my Mom still needed her husband!)

Needing to return to work -- and the management of a Christmas parade that could not be postponed for my grief -- my Mama hugged me after the funeral and said, "You can not just sit this time."


She knew. She knew that my heart would want to shut down. That I would be hard-pressed to keep putting one foot in front of another without the safety net of wiggling down In their bed for comfort.

But I heard her. I could not just sit.

Twenty years have passed. I still miss my Daddy so much it hurts. I miss the way he loved me no matter what. I miss the way the smallest accomplishments on my part were huge reasons for him to beam with pride. I miss watching him with my children, the way I saw him love others! I miss having a Biblical question and knowing he would have the answer.

I miss hearing his voice. 

But I have remained moving forward almost always. The Daddy's Girl inside often wants to curl up and just stop. But I keep on keeping on.

And when my youngest asks if she can wiggle down between her Daddy and I, I smile and move over. Praying the whole time that she feels the comfort of parents who love her unconditionally and that somehow my dear Daddy can see and know I learned so many lessons of parenting from him!

I miss you, Daddy. 20 years is a long time. But I will be forever grateful that you packed a lifetime of love and memories into our years with you!!!