Saturday, May 08, 2010

Semi happy birthday

So today was another day, differentiated from the other 364 days this year by virtue of the fact that as of 8:08 this morning, I had completed yet another revolution of the sun.

It was a good day, filled with kids bouncing in and out of our room before I woke up, friends singing me happy birthday as we walked into synagogue, rainbow white cake for lunch, a perfectly delightful afternoon spent running errands with my wife and our little man, and dinner out with tout la gang. On second thought, it was more than good. Thanks to my family and community, it was a great day. I'm blessed beyond words.

At the same time, it was more than a little bittersweet because it was also my first birthday since I lost my dad. I know I risk upsetting those closest to me by admitting for most of the past week I felt somewhat less than shiny and happy in anticipation of today. I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to feel celebratory when all I really feel is loss.

But here's the thing: As much as I'd like to undo the passage of time, I realize the universe simply doesn't work that way, and no amount of whining - on my blog, elsewhere, anywhere - will ever change that. Whether or not I accept the admittedly sad reality of post-loss life is beside the point. It's reality, and I need to find some way to live with it. It sucks, but it's life in all its flawed glory.

It wouldn't have been my dad's style to be subdued on a day like today. It's not what he taught me, and as I moved through the day surrounded by my family, it's not how I applied his lessons. So I stayed close to those who matter most. I watched them a little more closely than usual. I closed my eyes periodically and listened, hard, to them.

I can't hug my dad any more, but my kids can still hug theirs, and I owed it to them to be there for them, fully in the moment. Because life's too short to miss out on the fleeting, precious moments of happiness.

Your turn: Lessons of our fathers. Please discuss.


sister AE said...

My dad taught me to look things up, to seek wisdom, never stop learning. He wanted us to be citizens of a larger world.

I miss my dad too.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

A belated happy birthday. I hope you had a wonderful day, despite your Dad's absense.

Gallow said...

Happy Birthday!! My parents are coming over for Mothers Day dinner, thank you for reminding me how special these times are.

fredamans said...

Happy belated birthday Carmi. I lost my dad 2 years ago this July. I only met him 3 years ago, so I feel your loss.
He may be gone from this life, but your dad is in your heart forever. Hence he will always be with you.


Blond Girl said...

First, Carmi, Happy Birthday!!!!!

Second, you are correct; we continue to revolve around the sun regardless of what life brings our way. Most parents bring children into this world fully expecting their children to endure the deaths of their parents. In fact, they plan and hope for it. It is infinitely more painful for a parent to outlive their child. Knowing that their kids will endure the loss of Mom and Dad doesn't stop us from having children - it impresses upon us the importance of quality time with our kids during our lives. Your father did a wonderful job of it, as I can see - and now you're doing it with your kids. And rainbow cake. Good job, dad.

Here's to another year of common, wonderful, blessed moments with your wife and kids.

Mojo said...

That guy in the corner doing the bobblehead imitation? That was me.

Yes, yes, and yes.

My dad taught me that you have to feel what you feel. You don't get a choice. You're going to feel it anyway, so you may as well acknowledge it and give it its due.

The thing he cautioned me about was giving it more than its due. And that, perhaps, is why I can still find wonder in a 4th of July fireworks display rather than remembering that the third of July is the anniversary of his departure from this mortal world.

If he were alive today -- and you'd asked him -- he would have prescribed exactly what you did. Be in the moment. His work was finished, mine is not.

I still have things to do yet.

Like wish my good friend a happy birthday (albeit belated by a day) and his lovely wife a Happy Mothers Day.

PastormacsAnn said...

Happy belated birthday, Carmi.

"to be there for them, fully in the moment. Because life's too short to miss out on the fleeting, precious moments of happiness."

So true and I appreciate the reminder as I am so guilty of letting those moments fly by without much notice. Made me think of this quote that I read this week: `Don't look back and think that was so great. Realize it at the time.' - Tess, Actress Betty White’s mom.

Hoping your precious moments of happiness come to you in abundance in the upcoming year. Blessings!

MorahMommy said...

You have every right to feel how you do. This is a year of firsts. Even though you can;t see him, he is here.

I hope you had a very happy birthday and know how special you are to us.

Thank you for making my mother's day so wonderful!


daisy said...

Happy Birthday. I'm sure your dad was very proud of the dad you've become as you always seem to put your family first.

Glennis said...

Happy belated birthday to you, Carmi. I hope you had a good time with your family. Despite your loss, you are carrying on his memory, which will live on in the minds of his grandchild.

Christine Gram said...

Happy Birthday Carmi... it sounds like you really made the most of a special day. (ps everyday is a special day)

Pearl said...

sounds like you've got a solid grip on it. it looks like anniversaries get more and more nuanced, the more deaths we go thru. may your next spin bring you thru good places Carmi!