Glad for the Dad

It’s a day late. Wish I would have thought of this yesterday, but I was busy doing things for Father’s Day! lol Like infinite back scratchies and dinner prep! Laundry, cleaning, moving, crafting, writing. Ya know, the usual.


Thanks for being Lilli’s dad, Kacey Moe. She has a better one than I did and I’m glad I get to see it. ❤ I wouldn’t want anyone else for my child’s dad. Well. Maybe Mr. Rogers. But, come on! Don’t we all??

You spent the better part of your life without an example for fatherdom. So. Wow! You’re doing the best job without any experience or training! Impressive.

It’s mainly that you fill her with all the emotional things you knew you wanted and never had. That you teach her the lessons it took you so long to learn. That you read and sang to her every day. That you hugged and kissed her every night. That you prayed over her, poured over her like precious oil, crafted her, molded her, formed her so carefully. Like our Heavenly Father does with us. That you worked so hard to stay through difficult times. Thank you for being a wonderful parenting partner. I love you.


My husband usually draws himself in this style (featured pic). So I thought I would incorporate a doodle that looks like him. 🙂

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December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad. 25 years ago, yesterday.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy, melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.


I love you. I forgive you. I miss you. Still.

December 11th, 1992

The day I lost my dad.


I am kneeling beside my father. He’s dead.

I look at him for a long time. I’ve never seen a dead body before.

I want to memorize his face and hands before he is in the ground.

His mouth is open. His eyes are fixed and wide. He is frozen with a look of surprise. I reach out to touch the back of his neck. My fingers barely land when I feel the prickle of shorn hair and cold, firm flesh.

I immediately withdraw my hand.

I am devastated that he’s gone. I never thought I would feel bad on this day.

My face is numb and tight from the departed tears that I didn’t bother to stop, catch or dry.

His hair is stiff and sharp. It’s cut so close and damaged from the radiation. It’s seems almost burnt.

His nose is pronounced and pointed. When he was healthy, it was round and red, but he’s lost so much weight. It’s chiseled bare.

His cheeks are waxy melting mounds. Smooth and brown.

His hands are large; dangerous. They are still, yet frightening. The monster strength is gone, but they summon the fear of what was possible, what was done.

He is a mechanic. But he has the cleanest, longest nails I’ve ever seen on a man. The palms are soft and tender, amazingly so.

My hands are close to his. The backs of my hands are rough, pale and dry. White with flakes. My nails are short and torn. Red and sore like my eyes.

I can sense that whatever lights the eye and warms the blood is gone from him. There is no recognition, not even a grimace.

His spirit has sighed away and what is left is just a heap of tumors, bones and bile. He will never talk, kiss, threaten, smoke, curse, drink, hit, hate, love, work, sacrifice, shame or wrestle on this earth again. He can’t hurt any more, but he also can’t fix a thing.

I have lost him. I. Am. Lost.

Go With the Flow

My dad was dying. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was would be gone within two months. He had end-stage lung cancer and could no longer drive. So I had to cart him around. Which he hated. So did I.

He’d lost all autonomy and that was hard for him. A fiercely independent, strongly opinionated man. He couldn’t even decide to go home from the hospital at his leisure. He wanted to die in his own bed. He finally got his wish.

One day, we were taking the interstate home and I was dutifully going the speed limit. I was afraid if I went over the limit, Dad would say something. Criticize me. He did anyway.

“You need to speed up. Move with the traffic.”

At the time, I was extremely annoyed, but all I could mumble was, “Sorry.” And I put the pedal to the floor.

There, Old Man.

“Why do you have to find fault with me in everything I do?” I wondered.

Too fast, too slow. Too lazy. Too everything you think I shouldn’t be. But your sick. So I’ll just keep quiet and take it.

But today, when I remembered his nudge (I still think about and remember these things, ugh), I thought, “Thanks, Dad. Good advice.”

I drive for a living now. All I have is time in the car to think about things, past and present. Too much time, perhaps. It’s like all the thoughts you ever have when you’re working out and in the zone.

I’m a very good driver. I pay attention and know a thing or two about cars, thanks to my father. He was a mechanic by trade. He taught me how to take care of a vehicle, inside and out, and how to drive one.

I know why I was so sensitive at the time. Any opportunity my parents had to correct me was unwelcome and resented. They behaved in ways that grownups shouldn’t: fighting, engaging in unfair behavior, inconsistency, neglect. They were normal parents from the 80s.

Who are you to tell me anything??

And I held them accountable with my teenage indignation. Except, it didn’t help and I was just as wrong. Even if I was totally justified in rebuking their correction, they were still my parents. And they were, on the whole, usually right. Or steering me in the right direction.

I’m 44 now and much more confident about who I am and how well I drive. I’m well-adjusted and have worked through most of my past. I take criticism, for the most part, in stride now (thanks to mandatory art school critiques). 😉

Today I’ll just say, “Thanks, Dad. You were right.”

I miss my dad. I mourn all the years I lost to his mental and physical illness. But I also mourn all the years I lost growing up without him or knowing him as an adult.

He never saw my daughter. I know he would have been proud of the job I did/am doing with her. I wish he could have held her, heard her, helped her. But it was enough that he ever did that with me. I can only remember a handful of times, but it was enough.

I forgive you and I’m sorry, Dad.

Piled

Tired, happy children
Piled on top of Pop.
Cuddled on his wrinkled clothes
Upon his lap they’d hop.

Relaxed and tousled jams,
Schlubby socks and drooping eyes.
From contented smiles and deep, sweet breaths
Happiness will rise.

Safe and sound for now,
However momentary.
We were once a family.
Photographic evidence unnecessary.

But helpful. 🙂


My dad and my two oldest siblings.

Making People

Each of these people
Were made by two parents.
Molded and shaped
By opinions, thoughts and variants.

These two people
Made four more humans.
They didn’t do it perfectly.
In fact, our family’s in ruins.

Their legacy was not premeditated.
Their good intentions paved the way,
To Hell and back and there again–
Four lanes without delay.

This kiss and marriage caught some place
Between Heaven and Hell.
A dark, rock-hard place between their love
Is where my childhood fell.

Like a photograph that floats down
Behind a dresser, trapped by wall.
Forgotten with time, buried by dust.
Neglected, unseen by all.

But.

Their love made me.
Shouldn’t I be thankful for this?
I couldn’t think of something more lovely
Than a passionate wedding kiss.

Thankful to be here. No matter what.

Llama-rama

Another llama! Llama sighting.

My dad drew this when he was young. My daughter took a pic of it before we left Missouri. His portfolio was starting to deteriorate from water damage and time. So we took pix of all of the artwork in there and this was among the ruins. So cool!

llama.jpg

This llama belongs on the side of a building with a Che Guevara beret! #banksy Love it! That’s his signature “James K.” He must have been young and still in school. So cute!

Party City

Tried this flamingo hat on at Party City the other day. Is this a good look for me? If you can’t wear a bird on your head every once in a while, what’s the point of living?

I remember the day my dad tied two free helium-filled balloons to his ears and walked out of our local department store. I was embarrassed on the outside (because I didn’t understand whether it was funny or not, it was), but learning the internal lesson of standing out for laughter’s sake.

You know, I’m sure someone had a better day because they saw an old, crazy, fat man wearing two balloons on his head. Something to talk about.

Dad was balding, tall and overweight. He wore overalls on most occasions. Typically paired with a short-sleeve western shirt. In a mixed town of country folk and suburbanites, seeing someone in denim overalls at the store was not shocking. What was shocking was seeing a middle-aged man with balloons tied to his balding head and greeting customers in the parking lot.

“Thank you for shopping at Wal-mart! Have a nice day!”

My sister almost cried, threw up or had an anxiety attack at his ridiculous display. I feigned upset, but was cheering on the inside. That took balls.

Dad wanted to become a country singer/guitar player. He infrequently got the steel-string acoustic out and plucked a song or two. He had a good voice, but someone told him, “You got no rhythm.” No one from our family. That would have hurt him deeply and caused years of turmoil. But he definitely wanted to stand out. Be seen. Be creative.

I have always thought that I was a mix of my father and mother. Restrained and refined in some circles, but sometimes, in the right circumstance, not afraid to stand out. I am an actor, creative, designer, artist. I can’t sing, but I have other talents to display. To have a space to shine is, IMO, a required psychological exercise. Anyone who doesn’t have a special thing would feel pretty sad and isolated. Maybe he felt that way sometimes. Unspecial.

I’m thankful for my blog. For acting. For art. It’s kept me sane. Okay, less crazy. 🙂 Art is therapy. So is writing. I worked through much trouble with writing over the last decade. All for free. Thank you, Internets!

Dad would have loved Party City.