Twenty-seven years ago today my father died. I was 17, too young to be left without a parent. My sister had recently turned 21, and she, too, was too young to become an orphan, which is what we basically were.
And seven years ago, just this past March, my four sons lost their mother, at even younger ages. And of course, Sam lost his wife.
Just over two years ago, my friend Missy lost her daughter. And last Christmas, my friend Michael lost his wife.
Children should not lose parents. Parents should not lose children. Husbands and wives should not lose each other.
It's always too soon.
I miss you, Dad.
Roger Lee Thomas
I feel this need to talk about Dad some more, of course. Maudlin is my middle name. Except I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to BE maudlin.
They say that the first man a girl loves is her father, and this is one of those truisms. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't love my Daddy with all of me. I thought he was so handsome and strong, so smart and good. He could do no wrong in my childish eyes.
As I became a teenager, my opinion changed a lot. I was the know-it-all, and he was the know-nothing. We never did get the chance to get past that garbage, sadly enough, but I know that we would have, and I try not to feel guilty for those lost teenage years. But even in teen turmoil, he was my much loved and much loving father.
But here are the things that my father gave me:
He gave me his blue eyes. My middle name (which means "light" and light was his lifelong fascination). My strength of character. My sense of humor. My wide butt. My ability to build a family out of cast-offs and strays. My loyalty to those I love. My love of all kinds of music. My book-love. My poetry is straight from him, that renegade poet of Beacon Hill. He gave me my bull detector, my sarcasm, my wonder at the universe. He gave me dreams and he gave me wings. He gave me life. He gave me his love, which I still feel to this day. Everything that I am, he molded and shaped, built the foundation on which I grew to be a woman, and no, I'm not perfect, but I'm satisfied with who I am.
And most importantly, at least in my opinion, he gave me an ideal of what a man should be. And when I finally grew up and pulled my head out of my backside, I found a man very much like him, a good, kind, smart, funny, gentle man who knows what it is to love.
Thank you for this best gift of all, Dad. I'll see you in forty or fifty years.
You would love all of your grandchildren, and oh, how they would love you!
Y'all wanna know what life with my boys is like? This is classic, typical, and scariest of all: TRUE!
This happens almost every single day, unless the kids are in school:
Cast of Characters:
Sean, a 16 year old highly intelligent young man capable of independent thought and action
Ian, a 14 year old ditto
Evan, an 11 year old happy go lucky nauseatingly cheerful ditto
Papa, a 42 year old exhausted PhD candidate and loving husband and father
Ma, a grouchy, tired, aching old hag of 44
Sean: MA! CAN I HAVE LEFTOVER WEDDING FOOD FOR LUNCH?
Ma: Yes, son.
Ian: MA! HEY, MA! CAN I HAVE LEFTOVER STIRFRY FOR LUNCH?
Ma: Yes, son.
Evan: MA! MAMAMAMAMA! MAAAAA! I WANTED WEDDING FOOD BUT I LET SEAN HAVE IT, AREN'T I GENEROUS? AND I WANTED STIRFRY BUT I LET IAN HAVE IT (AREN'T I KIND?). CAN I HAVE BEEFARONI FOR LUNCH??? CAN I MA? CAN I? (sounds of bouncing boy on other side of door)
Ma: (groans in agony) Yes, son.
11:36 and twenty seconds AM
Ian: MAAAAAAAAAAMAMAMAMAMAMMAMMAMAMAMA! WE ARE OUT OF KOOLAID. (pause)
Ian: So can we have Coke instead?
Papa: NO! ALL COKE MINE COKE!
Ma: No. Have something else.
Sean: HEY PAPA! PAPA! PAPA????
Papa: Yes, Sean?
Sean: WE'RE OUT OF KOOLAID! (pause)
Papa: Yes Sean, I know.
Sean: CAN WE HAVE DOCTOR PEPPER INSTEAD????
Papa: NO! ALL DOCTOR PEPPER MINE! MINE! MINE I SAY! TOUCH AND DIE!
Evan: MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! OH MA! *giggles* MA!!!! MA! WE'RE OUT OF KOOLAID, MA!
Ma: NO WAY! SAY IT AIN'T SO! I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT!
Evan: SO MA!!! Can we have Sprite instead? *giggle*
11:41 and three seconds
Ma: Okay guys, all of you, FRONT AND CENTER. Starting RIGHT NOW! You will sit down before lunch and figure out what it is you want, and then you will send ONE representative to ask it all at once. No more of this "How much of Ma's rarely captured sleep can we disturb in ten minutes!" game!
Sean: MA! MAMAMMMAMMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAAAAAAAAAAA!! MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Ma: Oh Lord, grant me patience...
Sean: CAN ME IAN AND EVAN RESPECTIVELY HAVE LEFTOVER WEDDING FOOD, LEFTOVER STIR FRY, AND BEEFARONI, WITH SPRITE, FOR LUNCH?
Ma: Yes. THAT is what I am talking about. And your grammar is atrocious. Let me die.