Forever a Daddy’s Girl

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I’m a daughter who today lost her Dad. Her Daddy, as she has always been (and will always be) a Daddy’s Girl. If you’re a Dad to a daughter, I’d like you to do something for me, if you don’t mind.

If your daughter is small, cuddle with her in bed tonight and let her tell you about her day. Be intrigued by her stories and probe for more details like you have heard nothing as amazing as her recounting her day. Or maybe just hold her in your lap while you tell her funny jokes. Tickle her until she giggles so hard she can’t breathe. Let her lay on your chest and listen your heart while you wrap your arm around her and watch some TV. Do these things and know that someday she’ll pull those memories from the dark recesses of her mind because she probably will never feel as safe and secure as she does in your arms. The memories of that will bring her strength when the days are dark, as she imagines your strong arms protecting her.

If your daughter is a teenager, volunteer to take her shopping for her next big event. Do your best to get into it and let her try several things on to show you. Give her as much positive feedback as you can, even if you have no idea what you’re talking about. In the end she’ll make her own decision regardless of your input, but she’ll appreciate the effort you made. She’ll know how much patience it takes in the attempt to help her buy clothes and she’ll know it’s a gesture of nothing more than love. Someday she’ll remind herself of that when struggling to find common ground with her own teenagers. Remember, you can never tell her too often how pretty she is, and even if her teenage hormones cause her not to believe you. Just believe the sentiment will be one she holds dear for the rest of her life.

If your daughter is an adult, go get coffee with her. Ask her about her job and be sincerely impressed with her accomplishments. Sincerely impressed with her as an adult. If she has kids, be truly amazed by her parenting. You will probably never understand how much she values your approval, but know it is worth more to her than gold.

Do these things for me – a daughter whose Daddy did those things for her. And so, so much more. I could start today writing about the things that made my Dad the best father a girl could ask for, and I would not stop writing for years. And there would still be more to tell, more that I’ve forgotten over the years.

Hug your daughter today, for me. Because my Dad will never be able to hug me again.

I’ll miss you, Dad. Forever.

(Here’s the eulogy I ended up reading at my father’s funeral. It was one of the toughest things I ever did.)

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Bullets ‘O Fun to distract us all from the Updates ‘O Sadness

  • AndyZ came home with his first bite from school the other day. I honestly do not care about such things at this age because they just happen. No big deal. I kinda want to chomp on his chubby calves when I see them too. So, I can understand. The funny thing is the teachers don’t tell you who did it – for obvious reasons – but based on the impression on his leg I could totally find the culprit. That’s how clear of a bite it was.
  • There is one intersection on our way to school in the mornings that often smells like rotten eggs. The other morning that smell got NikkiZ and I talking about other smells and if we like them or not. She likes the smell of “People, flowers, cats, rocks and houses.” And then she said, “But, Momma? I do NOT like the smell of boy farts.” That’s my girl.
  • MrZ is getting close to being able to cut his hair (he’s donating it to Locks of Love) and recently I was just absent-mindedly running my fingers through it. He said, “That feels good.” And then, it was like a light bulb went off in his head as he exclaimed, “Now I see what you mean about wishing people would play with your hair! It feels awesome!” See? Sometimes the gender differences can be breached. Now if only I could get him to understand why I would like to eat my weight in ice cream when I’m depressed.
  • I really like the idea of the 31 Days to a Better Blog challenge, but I didn’t see anything anywhere that included things like Eat Lots of Ice Cream or Watch Reruns Of Buffy as part of the strategy so I’m not sure I can really get on board.
  • Speaking of Buffy…Anyone seen Castle yet? I kinda love it. Or Nathan Fillion. One of the two.
  • AndyZ slept through the night in his crib for five days straight last week. Not again since, but still: FIVE DAYS STRAIGHT. And it only required half of a dose of Benadryl a night.
  • I went to Target this weekend and bought new makeup. I had NO makeup before that moment because I threw it all out when it occurred to me that the youngest item in the bag was over a year old. And crusty. I spent about $30 on makeup and think I’ll probably be set for the next year. Or two. Depending on how crusty the stuff gets.
  • I went and got my hair trimmed at one of those Cuts By Us places last week. It’s been about 3-4 months since my last trim, so it was long overdue. I always get them to wash my hair first because (a) it’s easier to cut wet and (b) it feels damn good. And let me tell you, the girl who washed my hair? BEST. HAIR WASHER. EVAH. I told her I was going to make an appointment again in another month just to have her wash my hair. She thought I was weird. Whatever.

I promise I end this on Teh Funny

I remember several years ago after one of my pregnancy losses, I found myself wandering around a few days AFTER I found out the fetus had died but BEFORE my D&C. It was a weird couple of days, as I knew I was still kinda pregnant, but kinda not. I didn’t get out much in that weird “between” time. I was too sad. But – at one point I went to Target for groceries and remember really wanting to tell everyone I passed, “Hey, I have a dead baby inside of me.” Now – I didn’t do that for VERY obvious reasons – but the urge was buried somewhere deep inside of me. Some very crass (and kinda disturbed) part of me that wanted everyone to truly understand what I was going through. That I wasn’t just some woman buying milk…I was a mother who was experiencing a loss. I was devastated and wanted to make sure everyone knew that.

I find myself thinking back to that trip to Target a lot lately. In the last 3 weeks since Dad made the decision to not continue his very short fight against cancer and kidney failure, I feel like my heart has been in so much agony. On the outside I’m going about my life, tending to my family and my career. I’ve been making the very frequent 220 mile drive home to see Dad, and then coming back to my “other” life. My normal life. It’s a very weird existence to try to do the daily chores while on the inside I just feel so broken. So sad. In so much pain. I constantly fight that same urge I had in Target, to tell everyone I pass, “Hey. My Dad’s dying right now. Just wanted you to know.”

However, I also find myself looking at other people I pass and wondering what their tragedy is. Are they dealing with anything like this? Have the recently? Did I pass them in the cracker aisle one day months ago when their heart was in this much pain? Did I offer them a smile?

It’s just a strange place to be. To be having to live my life and take care of my family but always having my Dad and his death in the forefront of my quiet mind. I do the laundry and think about how he used to read poetry in the basement waiting for a wash cycle to end. I load the dishwasher and think about how we had a broken dishwasher in our house for 30 years. I hold my kids and think about the years I spent being held by him. Both physically as I lay on his shoulder talking about my day, and metaphorically as I called him or wrote to him with every dark day I faced. He is on my mind and in my heart through every breath and across every step yet I continue to try to act like my life is no different than it was two months ago.

My point? I don’t know what it is. I guess I just want you to know that if your heart is hurting for whatever reason, know that there’s someone here on the other side of this blog who understands. Mine is hurting too.

Now – I have to end on a funny story because my Dad (who read my blog daily) would not want this place to become depressing on his account.

Yesterday evening I gave Nikki a bath, braided her hair, put a sundress on her, and went to family dinner. We ended up going by a Bar-B-Q place to pick up a pie. While there she decided she needed to go potty. We went to the bathroom and I pulled up her dress to put her on the potty and we both realized at that moment: I had forgotten to put panties on her. Her eyes got real big and I started laughing. I told her, “We’ll run back home and grab some panties before we go to Mimi and Dampaw’s.” She didn’t like the idea of delaying seeing her grandparents so she said, “Nah…that’s okay, Mom. We don’t have to wear panties under our sundresses.”

E spent the rest of the evening calling her Britney Spears.

(After – of course – we went home and got her some panties.)

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My mom installed a baby door for us at her house since we’ve been staying there so much.