It’s a Tough Time of Year

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I was going to write an entry titled “Ugghhh, I HAAATE February” that went something like this:

I’m with my kids most of their and my waking (and who am I kidding, sleeping) moments so I see their moods ebb and flow continually throughout the day, week and month.  Whenever they get a little sour I try to think of all the ways to handle it:  joking or talking about it, feeding them, hugging them, or getting them to go to sleep to name a few. 

But sometimes you just can’t shake the bad mood.  Sometimes there is a really good reason for being down in the dumps.  Sometimes you just shouldn’t have to cheer up.  In fact, sometimes being in a bad mood is just fine…

The post was supposed to be about building a toolbox of coping mechanisms with your kids and teaching them to know themselves so that they can help themselves. 

The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that while I certainly believed what I was writing, it was going to be an attempt to rationalize my own bad mood that I have been in this week month. 

Then I thought, this is really what I should be writing:

I miss my Dad.  I miss my Dad.  Oh man, I miss my Dad!  Aggggh.  I want my Dad! 

Ten years ago today he died.  Here are ten of the things I still miss about my Dad:

  1. The way he’d throw his big meaty arm around my shoulders and let me settle in to the crook of his arm.  And the way he’d let me stay there, usually sitting on the couch, as long as I’d like.  He was an attachment-parenter before the term was cool.
  2. That he would call me every birthday as soon as he woke up so that he would “be sure to catch me” to tell me how glad he was that I was born.  I don’t remember many of the gifts he gave me but I remember that every year.  Kids remember time with their parents, not all the “stuff” we give them.
  3. The way he brought his own peppermill to restaurants so he would always have fresh pepper.   It’s OK to be weird.
  4. The way he always made me my very own vegetarian entrée without asking whenever he made dinner that had meat in it unless I told him it was OK not to.  I know I was a pain in the butt.  Doing something thoughtful for someone you love is never wasted effort.
  5. How he was always willing to talk about anything.  No topics were off limits. 
  6. That he held me accountable but loved me to matter what.  Kids need limits but it is OK to go over them sometimes. 
  7. I miss his friendship with my husband.  I loved watching them laugh together as well as their easy understanding of each other.  Somehow, it makes it easier knowing that my husband knew him so well and still loved him as much as I did.
  8. That he was always up for an adventure.  He’d meet me anywhere, anytime, when he could.  Life is short.  Try to make the most of every day.
  9. That even though he was a teacher for over 30 years he would have helped me homeschool my kids.  And that we would have had a lot of fun doing it together.  Agggh.  I can’t even think of a lesson here.  I just want to cry and pity myself and rage that he is not here!
  10. That he kept every letter and note and piece of writing I sent him and hid them around his desk, which was his favorite place.  He always made me feel that what I did was important. 

Thinking about these things makes me happy, even in my grumpitude.  And sharing my Dad with my kids lessens the pain of losing him.  He would have loved them so. 

As I was telling them a story about him about a month or two ago, Molly turned to me very earnestly and said, “You know, Mom, you don’t have to worry.  He’s in my Dream Palace.”

“Who?,”  I asked. 

“Grandpop.  Your  Dad.” she said.

Joseph added, “My elephants are there too.  He likes them.  They are playing together.” 

Someday I will write about Molly’s Dream Palace and Joseph’s elephants.  For now, you should know that Molly’s Dream Palace is her most sacred place.  It is where she puts everything dear to her.  On a day like today it brings me great comfort to know that she knows that that is where my Dad belongs.

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