Twenty years married, a folded up high chair sequestered in the corner, kids that date, kids that drive, kids that go to midnight movies, kids that can do their own car seat buckles. Lucy’s been accepted to one of her Plan A schools and we all rejoiced … and Forrest and I cried a little bit. Our baby.
Going … going … gone.
Sometimes I look in the rearview mirror hoping to catch Mary’s eye, because she’s the only one who will still play peek-a-boo with me (if she’s in a good mood), and I see my dad’s eyes looking back at me. Light blue, high eyebrow, bags underneath that show my fatigue. Thankfully, I don’t always have bags, but when I’ve had particularly stressful weeks, or sleepless nights, they come out and I look like my dad. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’ve always been told I look like him, but in my mind, it means I’m getting older and things are changing. For the better, I believe.
My father died about a year and a half ago suddenly and dramatically in a car accident. He suffered from emphysema and as is often the case with that disease, had a stroke at the wheel. It was crazy and horrible and yet, the best thing that could have happened in the long run. As a veteran of the Air Force, a fighter pilot and a captain, he would have much preferred to “go down with his plane” than succumb in a hospital bed somewhere, wheezing and coughing out his last breath.
I wonder what he’s thinking about up there, watching Lucy get accepted to college, Emma get to study marine biology and get her diver certifications, Abby really succeed in swimming, Mollie and all the others doing their thing. I wonder if he’s proud of them. I wonder if he’s proud of me?
I like to think he is.