Friday, May 11, 2012

I miss him.

Yesterday I walked up to the park with my kids after school. It was a nice day and we didn't have any homework and I couldn't stand being inside anymore. Plus, I always find myself being the Nazi mom - do your homework! No you can't have another snack! Stop fighting! - after school, so it was a nice break from the norm.

The park was relatively empty when we got there. Only an older gentleman and his granddaughter and dog were playing. Thomas rode his bike around the pathways and Ben and I settled into kicking the soccer ball around (I was really trying to be Mother of the Year or something.) Then the little girl decided she wanted to play and so I sat on the bench and watched. The grandpa was watching the kids as well while he threw a ball for his dog.

My friends used to always say my dad looked like a Mexican. He had darker skin, black hair, brown eyes. He had strong, muscular arms. I remember how the skin on his elbows looked - sun-darkened from the hours of mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, walking in the desert while looking for arrowheads. As I watched this grandpa throwing the ball, I noticed his elbows. They looked so much like my dad's. And I saw his quiet, patient nature, so like my dad's. And then, as the granddaughter drifted off to the playground and Ben was playing by himself, he started to kick the ball back and forth with my son. I watched him chase down the ball and then kick it hard so Ben would have to chase it down. He drop-kicked it every now and then just to see if Ben could return the kick. I could tell he was enjoying himself.

It made my heart hurt. My dad was never the one to kick the ball with the grandkids. He always walked a little bit to the side, favoring his back - I never would have imagined him running the way this man was. But I still saw the similarities. The man's quiet smile, the way he didn't make a big deal out of the fact he was playing with someone else's kid, the way he didn't mind when it was over, just smiled and went back to throwing the ball for his dog. I teared up a little, wishing my dad had done more things like that with my kids. Or that he was still around to do them. But I was glad, too, for remembering.

The ones that we love never really leave us. I never knew that until the past year since he died. I find my dad with my on my runs, in little reminders like grasshoppers on the path and flowers in cemetaries and bits of snow that fall out of trees onto my head. No, I can't see him or touch him or even hear him, but I believe he is constantly around me. I found him again yesterday in the elbows of a kind old man. Maybe my dad was whispering in his ear - kick the ball to that kid over there  - I just don't know. But I loved being reminded of him. As many times as he wants to send me reminders of his love, I'll take them.


heidikins said...



Kasandra Mathieson said...

Becky...loved this post! Thank you, I lost my brother this year and this post was so expressive of how I thanks for putting it into words. To be loved is to be missed....

Amy Sorensen said...


Dad was with me yesterday too. I totally forgot to tell you on the phone, but I saw a deer on my run. A deer with an injured leg. And I thought about all the unmitigated suffering that goes on in the world, and how he suffered for so long, and then he wasn't with me anymore, he was with the deer.

all of which sounds crazy, but there you go.

But you know the completely odd & amazing thing? Not even ONE HOUR AGO I was telling the story to Kendell about the time the boy I was dating told me I looked really white for being half-Mexican and I was all, ummm, I'm like Irish and British with some Scandinavian thrown in, what are you talking about? And he was all, but your dad's a Mexican.

LOL!!! It still makes me laugh, but then I came in and read your blog and here is the same story. I think he wanted to be with us both.

Hugs. Can't wait to see you tomorrow!