Monday, May 13, 2013

Missing Dad on Mother's Day

Being Mother's Day, I was given autonomous control over the day's schedule.  Sweeet!  When my girls were both under the age of two, I dreamt of an ideal Mother's Day lying in bed for the entirety of the day.  If I needed anything to eat or drink, I would simply ring a bedside bell.  If a need to visit the ladies room was calling, I thought a bedpan, ideally, might just do the trick.  Rest, rest, and more rest was what I yearned for.  No, this dream never came to fruition.
Today with my girls being five and seven, more independent, rest is no longer a priority.  Thus, my family and I began the day with church this Sunday morning in an attempt to serve others by assisting with the passing out of carnations and RUBY Magazines to the ladies of the congregation.  Able to squeeze on several of the women blessings in attendance today, I was a happy camper.
From there, we headed to an all-you-can-eat buffet in Highland which appealed to every one of our hunger pains and then some.  A leisurely drive home then called for a nappy on the couch while my husband and squirts ran errands.  I awoke to a bowl of Hershey's Kisses from my youngest;  this day kept improving with each passing hour.
Ready to burn the too-numerous calories (did I mention the homemade macaroni and cheese?) consumed at lunch, we all piled into the van and headed to the batting cages for a visit down memory lane.  These batting cages in question are the same batting cages my dad and I used to frequent on many a weekend when I was an adolescent.  I would be swing-away Merrill while Dad was critiquing, "Choke up on the bat," "Raise your right shoulder," "Level swing," and so on.  He dropped the tokens into the machine, and I kept my eye on the balls.  Frustrated with my foul tips or what seemed to be the incessant drone of his voice, I would snip, "Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay," with as much insolence as possible.  What was welcome, though, was our enduring agreement to always end on a "good hit," one in which we both agreed upon.  Depending on the day, a "good hit" may have come at the first sign of fatigue while other days a "good hit" seemed to be that ominous needle hidden in a haystack.  Nonetheless, the finale was a positive regardless of the amount of time it took us to reach it.  With a delighted heart, I can see this ritual continuing with my own girls as my oldest declared,  "Stop talking!" while my hub and I offered our two cents worth and my youngest asked, "When can we come back?"

During the course of my lifetime, my relationship with my father experienced many foul tips, ground outs, pop flys, and some glorious out-of-the-ballpark home runs.  During the last eleven months of his life, I was no longer teaching due to a high-risk pregnancy, so I was able to spend a great deal of time with him.  When the end of his life was imminent, I was allowed some alone time with my dad.  He could no longer respond, but I knew he heard and understood.  Our connection was and always had been sports since my first t-ball game, so I thought no need to change this now.  Sitting as close to him on the bed as possible, I stroked his thick grey hair while whispering into his ear, "Dad, you did good.  We'll see each other again, and this time we'll have someone to shag our balls (my newly-born first child) while we're playing softball in the sky.  I love you always."  With this, I kissed him good-bye and waved him Home.

Courtney Winkler

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