Today I received some not completely unexpected news, but very unexpected in how I emotionally responded to it. I’ve always been the stoic, “strong” one in my family. I don’t break down easily, unless it’s a sappy movie. I don’t panic in crisis…usually. Emotionally I know how to close myself off…batten down the hatches…go on LOCK DOWN! Today that news has started chipping at my walls. The strangest thing is that I can keep it together as long as I am not talking to my husband…my soft place to fall…my protector and provider. In all his quiet, kind and compassionate listening, he only made me feel safe enough to cry. So I stopped talking to him.
I can’t imagine losing a parent and I am a grown adult with half-grown kiddos. What if I had to lose a parent before I graduated high school, went to college, got married, had babies and my babies had babies? Parents are supposed to get to see all of those things happen in their children’s lives. It made me think of what I would want if I learned tomorrow that my Daddy wasn’t going to get to see his grand daughters graduate high school, or go to college or get married or have babies.
My Daddy’s smell…clean, freshly showered and smelling of spicy manly cologne. My dad is blue-collar through and through, but if you closed your eyes and he walked up to you; you would think you had been wrapped in the pages of Vogue. I never want to forget that smell. I may have to think about stealing a bottle of his cologne now so I can save it.
Speaking of stealing…! There is a certain brown and gold Wyoming sweatshirt that is somehow in my possession that may or may not belong to my dad. possession is 9/10th’s of the law, right? For a couple of years I would find myself drawn to the coat closet and that sweatshirt anytime I was in my parents house. It was my dad’s and it was safe and comfortable. He would remind me to put it back before I left and I would, but always wondering how I could get it out of the house without him knowing. Then on a blustery day in Wyoming on a family girl trip to Sheridan to pick out a wedding dress for my sister my dad lent me the sweatshirt because I had pitifully underdressed for the weather. A long day of driving and still one more 50 mile drive ahead of me I toted my stuff to my car, yelled goodbye and headed to Douglas. When I got there I was putting my purse on the kitchen stool and looked down. I’d done it! I had managed to get the coveted sweatshirt out of my dad’s clutches without him even realizing it. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. My dad called me a couple of days later and mentioned he had gone into the closet to get his sweatshirt and couldn’t find it. I politely told him he needed to keep better track of his stuff in the future.
Here’s the funny thing about that sweatshirt. I hardly wear it. But there is something distinctly comforting about the fact that I have that sweatshirt in my possession. It will come in handy on a night like tonight when I wrap it around me, cuddle next to my husband and thank God for blessing me with another day to spend with my family.