Today is my second youngest brothers birthday, and when pulling up some old pictures of him, I came across one of him with my dad...They were playing in a pool at Disney World on a business trip our parents took my brother on (the other 4 of us back home were a little jealous, but we made the best of it ;)) As I looked at it there was something that struck a chord in me...he's carefully watching Evan from a safe distance, allowing him to enjoy the pool, as much as anyone could with a dozen floaties on! The look on his face, the concentration...it made me think about the man my father was; provider, protector, professional, dreamer, musician, comedian, family man, chef, artist, to name a few...and I wondered how this world, my world, has gone on without him.
He's passed away over 9 years now and it still amazes me how even the slightest catalyst can bring a flood of memories; a picture, a special meal, the sight of a stranger who looks like someone you know, a song...it doesn't take much. My dad was a strong presence, at 6'3" and 300 plus pounds, some could say he was downright intimidating. And though he could be a tough disciplinarian (a veteran of the US Navy, oh the tedious chores we would get for punishment!) he always explained the reasons for it. I remember him telling me once, "Sweetheart, I do these things because I love you...it's not easy in the world, and I want you to be strong and able to stand on your own two feet. No one will be able to bring you down, unless you let them." I may have grumbled through the tasks and chores attached to my grounding, but I never forgot what he said. And it proved true time and time again as I grew older, then grew up (or so I thought) and experienced the world for myself.
Now, in my thirties with a family of my own, I know in my heart what he was trying to do for his children. To equip us with the tools and the discipline to succeed in the world, but also to dream, and to reach for those dreams and make them realities. Memories of my father give me inspiration, his love gives me joy, and the values he instilled in me give me everything I need to make a difference in this world. I firmly believe he was taken so swiftly because his gifts and talents were needed in heaven...he had already given his children all he could so they could be blessings on this earth.
I love you dad, I miss you dearly, but I take comfort in the fact we will see each other again!
Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.
Kelly is a loving wife, mother, veteran, life-long athlete, personal trainer, and self taught cook with a passion for helping others. She hopes you will be inspired to live a healthier lifestyle while enjoying delicious meals cultivated in her home, and shared at your own tables.