Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gratitude


Through those life changing and foggy (not even) few months from my dad's diagnosis to his death, I experienced every emotion in the human spectrum of feelings, some of them for longer periods than others.  Some of them I hope to never feel again.  Some of them I feel today.  Some of them I will always feel.

There was one that I actively pursued, though.  A feeling that I sought out and brought to my attention in dark and light hours alike.

That feeling is gratitude.

I was so incredibly grateful that even though we had a shockingly short amount of time left with him, we had SOME.  We could talk, share, ask, and care for one another in a way that is unique to knowing the end is near.

I was so incredibly grateful for my current position as a stay-at-home mom so that I could be there and do what needed to be done without worry of lost income, time off, or leave policies.

I was so incredibly grateful that the timing worked out in such a way that my brother was able to be there with us every step of the way, no longer living so far away.

I was so incredibly grateful for the support system that held us up and kept us going, kept us fed, kept us sane, and kept us from breaking.

When I struggled to see any positive in our heart wrenching situation, I would try to focus there.

Gratitude.  Be thankful.  

The day before our big day of thanks seemed an appropriate time to express that gratitude again and remember it.  Thank goodness for that gift, that time, that life.

It's easy to get bogged down in the negative, especially when things seem to be taking such a shitty turn in life, but with (sometimes great) effort, you can bring it back to gratitude and see how very much you truly have to be thankful for.  Some that come to mind for me are...

My family, here, there, and everywhere.
My man, my spouse, my rock.
The sound of children laughing.
The open mouthed kiss of my baby.
My yoga practice.
My son's sweet smile.
Security.
Simple pleasures.
My friend family.
Margaritas on Friday night.
That cheese monger at HEB Montrose Market.
Home cooked meals, including the one we will feast on tomorrow.
And stretchy waistbands that make room for more.

As you gather round your tables with family and friends, take time to reflect.  Think of what your thankful for and let it be known.  Share your gratitude, not just tomorrow but every single freaking day.

In time, you'll learn to be thankful for that, too.

Image Credit: positivepsychologyprogram.com.




Friday, November 6, 2015

Oh, the profanity!



My dad was really, really funny.  Whether you'd known him your entire life or for a few short moments, he had you in stitches.  Blushing, likely, too.  It was one of his many innate gifts.  I've finally cried enough in all of this to be able to do something else.  Laugh.

In addition to the humor gene he thankfully passed along to us, my brother and I were lucky enough to have received years of training in timing and delivery.  But his humor was not for the faint of heart.  It was crude and crass and his comedy, as well as his everyday language, was peppered with profanity.  I'm unashamed to say that the not so subtle art of swearing was passed along to us as well.

Ah, fuck it.  It's just the Sears way.

He loved to tell the story of a family trip over Christmas to New England when I was about ten.  We'd gone snow skiing for the first time ever and being completely unexperienced with skiing (and snow for that matter) I became rather frustrated.  My hands were freezing and numb from snow getting packed into my gloves as I careened down the mountain and ate shit about thirty times.  I ripped the offending gear from my tiny hands and shouted, "these FUCKING gloves!" much to the surprise of my shocked parents and onlooking merry makers.

It started early.  And it stuck.

I have a cousin that shares this trait with his own creative spin, uttering choice phrases like "pickle smoocher" and "cock rag" as casually as if he were asking someone to pass the salt.  Offensive?  Not to me.  It's funny.

And it's just the Sears way.

I got to thinking about some of Dad's zingers over the years and a few stick with me.  For prosperity's sake, I thought I'd write them down lest I forget and in case I'm ever short on material.

Without meaning to offend any religious group, and in fact not meaning anything by it at all,  Dad would drop God damn with the quickness.  It was second nature.  One summer he had this shooting pain that would catch him at the oddest times and he would yell, "Oh, God damn, my ribs, Kris!"  We laughed every single time and it happened so frequently we drew a little cartoon of him on our fridge with the quote.  We found out just a couple years ago when he had a chest x-ray that he had actually fractured several ribs back then.  He couldn't wait to tell me what a kooze I'd been for ribbing him.

The ease with which GD was thrown around became crystal clear to me just a couple weeks ago when our four year old son, out of the blue, at the dinner table no less, proclaimed, "well, god dammit!"  My husband and I, wide eyed and stifling our laughter, both knew.  It's me.  Whoops.

When I was little my dad called me Princess Puff-n-Stuff.  I don't know why but it was adorable and I loved it.  Flash forward to high school.  He overheard me bragging to my brother and friend about some illicit and certainly illegal behavior I planned to engage in at an upcoming concert.  He waltzed around the corner and I knew I'd been busted.  He said, "Yea, I heard you Princess Fucking Dipshit and you won't be going to any concert tomorrow night."

Much more recently while talking to a couple of my dearest friends at his bedside he said, in regard to a long lost acquaintance of ours, "that girl's been hanging on the edge of skank for a long time now."  We nearly died laughing.

Around that same time, he showed his crass side to a couple of his closest teacher friends.  When they got up to leave and say their goodbyes he said, "Take a good look ladies.  Next time you see me I'll be  in a box."

When discussing his cremation, we asked if there was anywhere in particular he wanted us to spread his ashes.  He sort of shrugged and said that we should decide.  He didn't care.  He said, "It's mostly going to be dog and cat remains anyway."  We laughed through our tears.  How could we not?

And I couldn't possibly leave out the scandal of his exit from teaching when he overheard a female student rattling on and on about which coaches and teachers she would like to have carnal relations with.  His answer is infamous.  I wasn't there but believe it to have been something like, "sweetie, why don't you do the world a favor and get yourself a dildo."  Boom!  That was my dad.  In class.  Don't care.  He said what he wanted.

Right to the end he found humor in his situation, in us, and in this life.  And dammit, we loved him for it and so many other countless things.

Like the way he called everyone "sweetie" and meant it.  Or the generosity with which he shared the words, "I love you."  Or his back slaps or cheers or applauds or smiles or hugs.  His profanity was legendary, to be sure, but it was just one small aspect of the funny, loving, wonderful man I call Dad.

Image credit patheos.com.