Lesson in Life

May 18, 2008

Today would have been my father’s 90th birthday. He’s been gone now for 35 years. He died just a few days shy of his 56th birthday, in the spring of 1974. One year after I graduated from high school. I was 18.

I can’t help feeling that I got the short end of the stick, even though I was his shadow for much of my growing up. Well, as much as there was in those 18 years. He taught me the value of a job well done. There’s no substitute for good tools, and the knowledge to use them. And when the necessary tools are nowhere to be found, the instinct and intellect to punt is just as good. Together we marveled at the splendor of the world around us, and learned to savor what nature had provided us. As well as it’s stewardship that was our duty. Pretty good lessons. But I sure would have enjoyed knowing him as an adult. There are so many questions I would have liked to ask.

As I look back on it now, I think the best lesson to be learned is that life is too short. If he would have made it just five more years, he would have met his grandchildren. Both of them. And the wonders of their growing up would have brought him so much joy. It causes me to reflect on my own life, with a grandson on the way. Not that I’m planning a hasty departure, but I am only four years away from his age when we lost him. It does make me stop and take note. And rightfully so, because I have fallen into the trap that is work. For what seemed to be a somewhat lucrative step up, I now realize the price I paid was my life as I knew it. If you’ve been checking in on me, I’m sure you have noticed that I’m not around much. That’s because there’s just not much left. At all. Although there’s no turning back, there must be a way to manage it so that it doesn’t consume what little joy there is left. There is more to life than what I am living right now and I’m too damn stubborn to throw in the towel.

So. You probably won’t be seeing much of me until I sort through this mess. It’s going to take some big cahoochies to shed myself of some of the baggage I’m carrying around. And if I still have a job when this is all done, well that will be a good thing. But if not, at least I know how to handle a hammer and nail. And then there’s always fishing.


16 Responses to “Lesson in Life”

  1. Molly Says:

    You are right; life is short. I wish you well on this baggage- shedding adventure. Sometimes (like this evening) I remember that we didn’t even have or take any time to just talk.

    Take care.

    We need to do something fun…sometime soon.

  2. milkandhoney Says:

    Sounds like you need a vacation. And a mani/pedi.

  3. dilling Says:

    Hands up for fishing!!!!
    I vote on the fishing thing….yup….

  4. tod Says:

    I don’t care what anybody says, work is evil.

  5. moo Says:

    I’m so sorry that you are missing him. I really envy the close relationship you had with your dad.

    and ps … that picture is FANTASTIC!2

  6. coffeypot Says:

    It’s a good thing to realize what is important in your life. It’s also hard to divest yourself of a heavy burden, but the effort in itself will make you happier. Good luck and try to enjoy the trip. Remember, for every bad memory, there is a good one right there beside it. The balance, ya know. Just knock on the door when you get back and I’ll be there to greet you.

  7. Hilary Says:

    Sending good thoughts your way.

  8. Life is short. Take care of yourself. Go fishing. Summer vacation can’t come fast enough for me!

  9. phew. hard work ahead. all the best to you.

  10. daddy d Says:

    My dad died about the some time. He was about your dad’s age. Maybe, 55 as I remember.
    He did say if he had life to do over (actually there are only do overs in golf, but then one is not playing by the real rules), he would be a math teacher. I have wondered what he would have thought of my years of science teaching. I think that is the thing about fathers we want to have: What they would have thought about what we have done with our lives.
    Take care. See you at the PPR table.

  11. Susan Says:

    It seems like it should get easier to deal with the loss of a loved one over time, but we never really get over something like that.

    I hope you are feeling better about things soon. (((Hugs)))

  12. Cazzie Says:

    You know what LIFE WINS and so if you are absent as I have been until recently, then it is because you are living life to its fullest. Don’t let us stop you, we will be around, I will call in every now and again, you just have fun…and make sure you catch a nice big fish out there too 🙂

  13. Tink Says:

    He would have been so proud of you! ((HUG))

  14. G-man Says:

    I do hope that you can find a managed balance of life and work. That was a nice tribute to your dad, I hope that my kids will remember me in the same way. 🙂

  15. Candy Says:

    I know how hard this is. I hold 1 full time job and 2 partime jobs right now. All of which I like. What I do is all of my cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, dentist, haircuts during the week after my first job. My second job is on Saturdays. I take myself out for dinner afterwards and have a good dinner and a martini with the other girls I work with so it actually seems like I have having fun. The third job I do out of my home and is about 15 hours a week. I try and sneak some of into my first job during the day and the rest I do before 7pm so that I have some me time everyday. but here is the favorite part. SUNDAY IS MY DAY TO DO WHATEVER I WANT ALL DAY LONG! Go to a movie and sneak into 2 more or just sleep late and have a pajama day. My Aunt Tess used to say busy hands happy hands. I think she was right. Oh and thank God for the crock pot and frozen meals. So hang in there….

  16. You’re very right — life is way too short… Alot’s been going on lately in my world too — I’ll be able to call tonite I think and catch up with you — miss you — great post!

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