I always get a little bummed around the holidays, especially Father’s Day, because my dad is no longer here to celebrate with. Since 2011 I’ve been forced to honor him strictly through words and memories, and it’s difficult some days to do so with a smile.
Yesterday, though social media sites, I honored my dad, grandfathers, and my sister’s boyfriend. I forgot to also honor them here. So before I do anything else today, I’m going to pause to honor these great men in my life.
My dad, wow, a few times a year I’m writing about him, so most of you who follow my blogs and social media posts already know a great deal about the man who helped make me the woman that I am. He’s in the picture above, embracing my mom on their wedding day. Their parents surrounding them. Sadly, my grandparents have also transitioned to their next spiritual promotion. I don’t know why, as a child, we expect everyone to live forever beside us—a phone call away. That becomes our expectation as we grow up, and we get disappointed each and every time someone transitions.
I’m grateful for the time that I had with my dad, 25 amazing years. Not as long as I had hoped and planned, but longer than what many children get to experience. Sadly, longer than what my sister got to experience. She was just a child. She had just graduated from 5th grade and was excited about her promotion to middle school. Then the devastating blow, that has since altered her mind and life.
My sister and I have our own experiences, memories, and lessons from our time with dad. I know that her recent blessing, giving birth to her son—my amazing nephew, Logan, has also given her another blessing—Logan looks just like her, his father, and our dad! Oh my goodness there are moments when your mouth just drops open and you hear yourself saying, “he looks like dad”. Like in the picture below.
I always wonder if the visual recognition, the familiarity, brings a sense of calm to my sister. I know it fills me with a calming light that keeps me smiling.
I don’t just think about my dad on holidays. I think of him daily. I replay his words of wisdom through my mental archive, so I can be more thoughtful of the decisions that I make. It’s like, “what would dad tell me….”
I also think of two other men, and my time with them—my grandfathers.
My paternal grandfather, I called him “Papa” (use your *Spanish accent* when you say it) transitioned when I was a child. I believe I was in 5th grade. That was rough on me. I wanted to learn so much more from him. I couldn’t wait until I was older so he could teach me how to sail boats and make replicas of the ones we sailed in, and how to make the beautiful wooden clocks that he and my grandmother built a business making. I wasn’t as close to him as my maternal grandfather. But it didn’t weaken my love for him. I remember helping to clean buildings and churches with he and my grandmother, as their company had janitorial contracts that I gladly helped to fulfill. I still have a few of the clocks that he made, including one that he shaped as the continent of Africa, for one of my Godfathers, who happened to be the General Counsel for an African country. My Godfather gave me the clock as a gift after my grandfather passed. I keep it hanging on the wall in my home so that every time I see it I think of my Papa.
My maternal grandfather, my “Poppa” (or “Paw-paw”), transitioned when I was a sophomore in college. It was a day from Thanksgiving, but not a day that we initially could bring ourselves to give thanks. To us, his asthma attack was a senseless passing that could’ve been prevented. We spent years in the mental state of “shoulda, coulda, woulda” until we eventually healed to be thankful for the time that we had with him, the lessons that he taught us directly and indirectly, and the words of wisdom that he imparted. I don’t see a vegetable garden and not think of him. He worked for a Ford Motors Corporation subsidiary, so when I see and think of Ford, I think of him. He bought my mom and her two siblings Ford Mustangs when they were in high school. I grew up wanting one. I convinced my now ex-husband, to get one, and he races it in amateur competitions. He even surprised me with a trip to Utah to participate in the Ford performance racing school, where I drove and raced Mustangs for a day (he went for two days). I felt my grandfather smiling at me. I smiled back. I felt such pride, months later, telling Henry Ford III about my grandfather. Through my then husband’s perseverance, he got to meet, know, and form an alliance— and eventually a friendship, with Henry and the company. I still of course have plans of owning my own Mustang. The love of Mustangs still runs deep with my aunt, my mother’s sister, who still owns one. She’s purchased probably 5 or 6 since receiving her first one from my grandfather, her father. In that way, that is one way for her to keep a strong connection to my Poppa. I never asked her if that’s why she keeps buying them. That should make for an amazing conversation. She subscribes to this blog, so I will get an answer to that pretty soon I suspect.
Now, last but not least. My sister’s boyfriend, Shawn. The father, daddy, and hero to my amazing nephew Logan and his big sister Giavonna. I’ve witnessed Shawn light up when he’s with his children.
He gets more time with Logan, because Logan lives with him and my sister. Giavonna lives with her mom, and although when they lived closer together, we used to see Giavonna on a consistent basis, her mom has relocated and the distance and time has grown. But that doesn’t weaken Shawn’s love for his daughter, his firstborn. Nope, he just plans for those days and moments that he will have to share with her. She looks just like her daddy. A spitting image. She always called me “Tee Tee Tasha”. That little girl will always be my niece, my precious sidekick.
There’s no denying that Giavonna and Logan are Shawn’s babies. Oh my goodness that man’s genes are strong. Last night I had the pleasure of video chatting with my sister, Shawn, and Logan. I got to watch Shawn and Logan playing. Their laughter was contagious. Then I was able to take a screenshot of them face to face. Logan staring in his daddy’s eyes.
I smiled brightly watching this precious moment— that a father has with the mini versions of themselves. No man, who wants to be in the lives of their children, should be kept away from them. Children need their fathers as much as they need their mothers. There’s no substitute for a parent’s love. That DNA is the magic sauce.
I’ve been filled with so much joy watching Logan grow and watching him cling to his male hero—his daddy.
Happy Father’s Day to my dad, my grandfathers, and to the man who I’ve affectionately called my brother for a few years now. One day out of the year isn’t Father’s Day. Every day is. I love these men!
Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.