It’s my role to remind mom of things.  I remind her that she doesn’t have room keys when she’s rummaging through her purse when I bring her back to the Alpha House.  I remind her that she doesn’t have cats any longer when she picks up cans of food at the grocery store.  I remind her that she has grandchildren who range from middle school through college, not preschoolers any longer.  But occasionally, she reminds me of things I’ve forgotten.

I got to preach Sunday because it was family weekend at R-MC.  The staff at Duncan Memorial UMC is gracious to invite the college chaplain into the pulpit at special occasions like this.  Usually I sit with mom on Sundays, but this week I found a friend to sit with her while I robed and entered the chancel area.  At the end of the service, I found mom and my friend, and the friend confided that everything had gone smoothly.  “But,” she added, “You may want to know that she was very tearful at the end of your sermon.  She said she wished your dad had lived long enough to hear you preach.”

Well, open the floodgates.  Dad died over twenty-six years ago, and his unexpected death remains the biggest formative and painful experience of my life.  Growing up he was my anchor and my hero.  He decorated our birthday cakes, he baited our hooks, he even drove me to school on the back of his motorcycle at times.  He sang without reservation, and he insisted I could jack up a car and change a tire before he let me drive a car on my own.  I miss him.  But…

Dad’s been gone over twenty six years.  So… I don’t think about him daily.  I don’t even think about him weekly.  Yes, he’s still a big part of who I am and how I got to be me… but I don’t think about him like mom does.  Time is different for mom.  The last ten years are more or less missing for her.  And the fifteen or so before that are foggy.  In her mind, he only recently left us.  Now, of course, that causes her a certain amount of pain that I’m spared from on a daily basis.  But Sunday… her memory didn’t bring me pain, it brought me a gift.

I’m middle-aged and mid-career, you might say.  But through mom’s lens, for a moment, I was simply the daughter of what would be a proud dad.  And it just so happens that tomorrow is his birthday.  He would be 71 on October 10, 2018 if he hadn’t passed away at age 44.

Thank you, Mom.  In the busy-ness of my work and my routine, thank you for reminding me that I was loved by a very special man.  He’d be proud of you, too, Mom.  You’re doing really well even with all of the challenges you face.  Happy birthday, Dad.  I hope we’re all making you proud too.

4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dad!

  1. Kendra, open all OUR floodgates. I read this through tears, while smiling at the same time. What a lovely reflection and acknowledgement. What a gift of perspective you’ve shared with us readers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kendra, this was beautiful and wise. Thank you and keep them coming. These blogs take me places that are not easy to get to. It is a real gift. Harrison

    Liked by 1 person

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