It’s Been 20 Fast Years, Dad…

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He wore leisure suits.

He played golf very well. And he played so fast we used to say he played polo with a golf cart.

He would clear his throat at a chorus concert so I would know where he and my mom were sitting.

He could dance like Fred Astaire to my mother’s Ginger Rogers. I never learned to dance but when I danced with my father he guided me with his hand on my back. Oh how I loved that.

He could tell a story better than anyone I knew. I could listen to him talk about his customers and staff forever.

He and my mom traveled around the world. My favorite story happened in Paris. They stayed in first class hotels. They came back to the hotel a bit tipsy and switched all of the shoes for shining outside the doors. They said it sounded like the UN the next morning as all of the gentlemen, wrapped in robes went searching for their shoes.

He couldn’t cook anything but scrambled eggs but could grill a steak better than any chop house.

He loved football. He worked tons of hours and when he was home on Sunday he was obsessed with the game. So, in order to speak his language, I learned football by the time I was six or seven. Twenty years ago when the Bills staged the greatest comeback he was in the hospital. I remember going straight there after the game, telling him every detail I could remember. It barely registered. I guess I should have known then.

Whenever I smell a cigar I think of my dad.

He could play billiards with the eye of a shark. When he was a boy he used to hustle at a pool hall on Pine Avenue. He used to store his winnings in the encyclopedia volume including the word Money.  Apparently he must have gotten his clever streak from his mother.

She found it. And, she kept it. Never a word was spoken.

dance at wedding

The only time I cried at my wedding was when I danced with my father.

He never met a stranger. When you met him he would make you feel as though you were friends forever. Then you would never forget him. He cut a very wide path.

20 years has passed but you are every bit as real to me today as ever. I see you in my son’s face. How lucky is he? How lucky am I?

August 1, 1927 – January 15, 1993

Love you Dad

Is a Temper Tantrum a Form of Prayer?

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I think the only thing more controversial thing to talk about than politics is religion.

This post is not about politics.

Then again, it’s not really about religion, either. It’s about faith.

I have had a few more than my share of challenging glass not so full moments recently.

I miss my mother-in-law a whole lot. She may have been over the top but she had a heart of gold and loved me without reserve. She left us a few months ago and left a huge gap.

I miss my son a whole lot. Soon after his grandmother passed away he moved to New York City for a fabulous job at a Big Four accounting firm. It warms my heart that he misses me, too but doesn’t change the mist in my eyes when I think about it.

I miss my administrative associate a whole lot. My long time assistant transferred out of my department for a full time position somewhere else on campus. She was amazing and allowed me to do my work without worrying about hers. You don’t realize how much that means to you until it’s gone. She was replaced temporarily with another woman with a huge amount of institutional knowledge but was redeployed last month. So, now I’m doing one and a half jobs…woohoo!!

I know I’m not alone. A lot of my friends and family are going through similar things…aging parents, grown children and work place turmoil. But knowing you are not alone is sometimes not enough.

Yesterday was a turning point for me. It started with a bang and didn’t let up until I finally fell asleep (with the help of an allergy med and a PM).

At one point in the day, after several different negative experiences I banged my hand on the desk so hard I needed ice to sooth the damage. Several colleagues suggested that throwing things is a better outlet…perhaps so but I think the mom in me overturned that idea because I would have had to clean up the mess, adding to the indignity.

So, after getting the ice and writing two separate emails (which I am proud to report I deleted after reading them) I decided to take a walk to the chapel on campus.

My glass may have been half full but the holes in the bottom prevented me from seeing it. I’m not sure what I expected to find there. I honestly don’t. But I knew I needed to do something at least tangible to me that would break the fall.

As I approached the beautiful building I saw several people walking out. Oh dear God, I just wanted to be alone…

As fate would have it, I was alone when I entered. I walked up to the front pew and sat down. Never once while I was in that acoustically perfect church did I say a pray, at least not the prayers we chant mindlessly during Mass. No Hail Mary, no Lord’s Prayer…nothing but my own words, said through tears.

At one point I panicked because I thought someone was in there. I’ve sung in this church many times and it has perfect architectural amplification. A microphone is totally unnecessary. My own pleas where audible throughout.

Oh God, what if someone hears me?

Oh God, what if He does not?

Both of those thoughts gave me pause. I sat still and stopped crying. I dried my face on my coat sleeves.

I sat still waiting for something. Anything. My breathing restored to a reasonable calm.

Oh God, what if someone hears me? I’m in church. So what. People pray there, right? Isn’t a temper tantrum a form of prayer? Think about that one for a second. Replace any words during any tantrum with please help me and there you have it…a prayer.

Oh God, what if He does not? Really? How could I believe that for any second. He will hear me. Will I be open to His answer?

Then it happened. I didn’t want to believe it for a moment but the sound was undeniable. When it happened again I had to acknowledge it.

It was a text message from my husband. “Just let it roll off your back.”

Now I’m not suggesting to you my husband is God…no, not at all. But isn’t that message well timed if not divine?

“Just let it roll off your back.”

Ok, I responded. I put the phone back into my pocket, bought myself a coffee and donut (chocolate glazed) and walked back to my office. I only took a few bites of the donut and threw it away. I didn’t need it anymore.

I figured out what to do on my walk. I shared my thoughts with the people who needed to hear them, brushed myself off and went home.

Today the actual situation here is unchanged but I am completely ready to deal with it.

All because of my prayer through tantrum.

You will never know how honored I am you just read this. Have a blessed (and yummy) day.