The Man, the Myth, the Legend
Note: This article is written for all of us parents/parents-to-be that are navigating the waters of [impending] parenthood without one or both of our parents, and anyone else who is interested in reading, of course! While, this article is about re-grieving the loss of my dad with a son on the way, I am in no way an orphan. I have a very loving and generous mom with whom I am very close and a very kind step-father. I feel for all of the folks out there that are doing this thing having lost both parents. Here we go.
George and I are probably in the happiest time of our lives right now. I am so joyful every time I feel baby boy moving around inside of me and feel oh so lucky that I get to experience all of this. It felt like the longest time of me being unsure if I’d ever be a mom and now I’m just over the moon knowing that a human being is finally going to find my voice soothing (at least temporarily). Ha!!!!!
I’ve mentioned before [here] that being pregnant has caused me to be extremely introspective. I think that is normal, after all, I am now going to be responsible for the physical and mental well-being of my very own human. Huge. Something that I really was not prepared for though is how it would make me feel like I lost my dad all over again.
As the news of us having a little boy sank in, I felt heartbroken that my dad wasn’t going to be here to meet him. The first few days of knowing it was a boy, I really had a lot of emotions about it inside of me. I probably would have had similar emotions had we found out we were having a girl, but it felt like having a boy made my father’s absence even more crushing.
What is really monumental about this lingering devastation is that this past February marked the halfway point in my life of my dad passing away so he has missed most of the “highlights” of my life and because of that, all of these “highlights” were unfortunately slightly bittersweet. You can't really understand if you haven’t lost a parent because until they’re gone, you kind of take their presence for granted - they're just supposed to be there. I’ve managed to shed a few daily tears and pick myself up by my bootstraps and kind of learned that this is my life and I shouldn’t wallow in it.
The other morning I realized that I have temporarily misplaced a photo of my dad that I always had propped up on the bar of our kitchen look-through into our den. I went tearing through our den to see if it had fallen behind anything and George right away started helping as I went upstairs to look through my collection of loose photos I have stashed in our guest room closet. I knew that I had put it away while the Christmas decorations were out so that it wouldn’t get damaged. We have determined that it is most likely in one of those transitional holiday bins where regular house décor gets placed to make room for Christmas and that I overlooked it when I put everything back together after the holidays. We’ll have to go up into the attic to dig through bins - a project for another weekend.
I have hoards of photos of my dad. My mom was really good at taking and maintaining our family photos when I was growing up and fortunately it means me and my siblings have records of lots of our memories. But I was absolutely devastated at the possible loss of this single picture. Devastated. All I kept thinking was that pictures are all that I have and all that I can share with my kid to show him my dad - and they are finite. My dad won’t be here when my baby boy is born.
The thing of it is, I’m not even really just sad for me. I’m sad for my dad and for my little boy. You see, my dad was a real man’s man. It isn’t just the legend I’ve created of him in my head, he really was. He had motorcycles, boats and classic cars - for most of my childhood I remember a car engine being rebuilt in our garage. He was an outdoorsman; a hunter and fisherman to the extreme – taking my mom on a canoe trip for their honeymoon. And he was an athlete. He played semi-professional lacrosse before I was born, played and coached ice hockey his entire life until his heart literally stopped working on the ice in his late forties and played golf every single day the courses were open the last few years of his life. And as my brother has said, our dad didn’t just play, he was actually good at this stuff. One of the memories that stands out about my dad’s wake years ago were all of the grown men that came up to me and told me about how my dad had coached their hockey team years ago and what an impact he had on them.
To think that my dad would have two grandsons (my sister had a little boy a year and a half ago) hits me a certain way. It really makes me feel the weight of his loss all over again and sad for the mini me that won’t know my dad Larry.
But this is where I’m at now… Even though it is probably going to bother me forever that my dad won’t be here in the flesh, the thing of it is, my son will know all about his grandpa because the truth of it is, I got more from my dad than just my name (I’m named after him). My dad rubbed off a lot on me, my brother and my sister, and even on my mom. And what is really cool that I didn’t realize until more recently is that George is a lot like my dad. He’s handy like him, loves sports and really loves being outdoors, like I do too. We keep talking about how we can’t wait to take our little boy camping with us and we are both way too excited to get our kid on the ice playing hockey (yea, we’re going to be those parents).
Our baby is getting his daddy’s first name, George, and my dad’s name for his middle name, Larry. I think my dad would have liked that. But I also think he would have liked to know that his grandson will know how to set up a camp and be able to skate backwards before all of the other kids. That’s what he really would have liked to know.
This parenting thing is already no joke. So much to think about and consider. I appreciate that you came and read my thoughts! My hope is that it helps someone else to not feel alone if they are going through the same thing or something similar. I know it is a lot deeper than my usual recipe/décor posts! Remember to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for daily home inspiration. Until the next time!