Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today is my dad's birthday. He would have been 57 years old.

Six months ago, on September 1, 2019, my dad went home to be with Jesus. 

For six months I've thought about writing this, and for six months every time I tried I couldn't get past the opening paragraph:

On Setember 1, 2019 my dad went home to be with Jesus. It was just an ordinary day for him. He went to church and did normal, every day things.  In the middle of his ordinary day he was sitting talking with his wife, when all of a sudden he suffered a major heart attack. Just like that, in the blink of an eye, the beat of a heart, he was gone. 

How do I put into words a man that was larger than life? How do I properly pay tribute to the one who loved me as his own, even though we didn't share a genetic bond?

Well, for six months the answer was I didn't. 

But today, on the day of his birth, I thought it would be fitting to give it another try.  

Losing my dad has been hard.

Missing him is hard. Wishing he was still here is hard. Dreaming about him and waking up and being hit with the loss all over again is hard. Coming to a place of accepting that I'll never see him or hear his voice again this side of heaven is hard.

For the past couple of years my dad and I often found ourselves on the phone in the early morning hours before our days began. Sometimes those calls were lighthearted and full of shooting the breeze, and sometimes those calls were full of my anguished cries or ragey rants as he helped me work through a crisis or talked me down off a ledge. For the past six months not being able to get on the phone to talk to my dad has been hard. 

My dad and I didn't have a perfect relationship. During my formative years I adored him. He was my protector and my greatest advocate. Losing that dad, the one that chemically straightened my unruly curly hair when I was 11 because I wanted him to, the dad who worked his ass off tirelessly to support his family, the dad I spent a summer delivering papers with at 4 am every day, the dad who threw me the coolest sweet 16 party ever, the dad who had this great giant booming laugh, has been hard.

When I was an adult, he remarried and moved out of state. There was a lot of years, more than I like to count, where we weren't very close. We were both stubborn and prideful and part of my mourning has been for those years we will never get back now. The battle between the grief of a girl who just loved her daddy and the grief of a woman who felt abandoned by him for so long has been hard. 

For the past six months I've wrestled with his faults and made peace with the fact that he was human. Just like every one of us. I think we all just do the best we can.

Losing my dad has caused me to think deeply about relationships and legacy and what being a family means. When I'm gone and my kids look back over their lives, I know they'll see my mistakes. But more than that I hope they'll see that they were loved. That they had a place to belong. 

My dad's legacy looks different for each person. He was a loving dad, a grandpa, a brother, an uncle, a great love, a faithful friend, a mentor. He was so much to so many; a testimony to a life well lived. 

                               The original Calders: Grammie (Arlene) Grampy (Jim) Ken, Scott, and Dan 
                                                        My parents wedding day
                                                Dad, Uncle Scott, Grammie, Uncle Ken

Happy Birthday, dad.

Thank you.

I'll see you again one day.

I love you.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!!

I did everything a little bigger this year, trying to add extra magic to help ease the ache in our hearts as we remembered the dads who aren't with us to celebrate this Christmas. 

We squeezed in all of our favorite traditions. We decorated, made ornaments, went on a Christmas light drive, created gingerbread house masterpieces, read Christmas stories together at night (there was some resistance this year to this...they seem to think they're too old to be read to anymore), baked for our neighbors,  and watched the Christmas classics. 

We also got to spread some cheer at a ministry party at church, see a play, spend time with our favorite people, and just be intentional about remembering how truly blessed we are.

A Christmas Story at the Mount (you'll shoot your eye out, kid!)

Christmas kitty

                                                   Francesca baking in her tap shoes
                                                  Gingerbread houses with the boys


                                                     Craft night with our bff's

                                                    Delivering cookies to our neighbors

                                                 Christmas Eve at our house this year!

Christmas brunch at auntie's!

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Happy 1st Day of School!!

The summer flew by, and just like that we have an 8th grader and a 10th grader! This year we will continue with Classical Conversations as we really enjoy being part of a local community. Here's to another great year of learning together!!

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