Remember when I talked about all the milestones you've missed in the nine years that you've been gone? Well, we reached another one over the weekend. It's the sort of milestone I've been turning over and over in my head for the past two days, trying to make sense of something that, quite frankly, I never expected to hit me as hard as it did.
So Saturday morning went something like this: Janelle is getting certified in phlebotomy and starts an internship in a couple months -- at 4 a.m.! Naturally, she'll need a way to get there, so my mom thought it was high time she got a used car. As luck would have it, some family friends were selling a car -- the green little beauty above -- and it was the perfect car for Janelle. It was the perfect first car for her. Yes, Father, you read that right. Her. First. Car.
The husband of the couple that sold us the car took Janelle under his wing that morning in her own private auto-repair crash course. He showed her the inner workings of the car, took her to give the car a shiny wash and showed her how to put the license plate on. He did all those fatherly things, and he did them with such tireless enthusiasm, just like you would have. Needless to say, it was a very grateful day, one of those days when you realize just what good people you have in your life. I forget that sometimes with you gone. I know I shouldn't. I know that your death should have made me realize how many people love me. And it has, for the most part. I just have my bad days every now and then.
Anyway, I'll admit that I didn't really expect to get all that choked up and emotional about the whole thing. But as the morning rolled on, it became clearer and clearer just exactly what this whole milestone meant -- for all of us.
We got to talking about things later that night. We wondered if you were looking down on us and on everything that was happening. Were you as sad as we were that you couldn't be there? Because we all knew that you would have loved this day with all your heart. You, too, would have made a big production out of things. That was just in your nature, which was one of the many things we
all loved -- and miss -- about you.
I'm sure you would have uttered the word "proud" a lot, too. Proud of Janelle for doing so well with her phlebotomy class. Proud of her for owning her first car. Proud of her for being responsible enough to own her first car.
You were always so proud of your family. I wish you were here so we could be proud of you, too. But something tells me that you were watching us. Were you smiling that classic smile of yours that I remember so well? I hope so. I love you and miss you, Father. xoxo