I am no longer sad, I am no longer waking up in fear of him being gone. I am moving forward with his life within mine.
It’s surreal to think back, that it’s been 9 years since the day my dad passed away. It becomes very real when I realize that Paley was only 9 months old when her Grandpa Mika left us. While he has missed so much with my kids lives, he did have 12 amazing years with his other grandchildren in his short life. It was a real wake up call recently when I found out that my father was actually diagnosed with Diabetes when he was in the Navy in the late 60’s. While I am struggling to battle and reverse my diabetes diagnosis, this news just adds more fuel to the fire to get back to a healthy life.
Recently, I snagged my uncle’s phone and grabbed a plethora of photos that he scanned from their family photo albums as well as old family photos they found at my aunts house. A lot of the photos I have never seen before. A lot of the photos are of my dad in his teen years which pushed me to go back through some of the shots of my dad as a young father.
Memories are everything and making them are even more important when you bring children into the world. One thing I share with my father is his love for his children. The memories I made with my father, are now the memories I share with my kids. Clem is now finding himself sharing more memories about of his own father, who passed one year ago this month. One of the strongest memories I have of my father are all those weekends spent with him driving to swim meets and all those long hours he and my mom spent volunteering at the meets.
Last summer has really woken me up to the swimming life again. I have been very hesitant in pushing my kids into swimming or other competitive sports, like so many parents of today. It’s crazy how there is now a shift to throwing our kids into competitive sports at such a young age, when they don't exhibit interest or even talent for the sport. The lack of talent should be a alarm going off in their heads. While I started swimming year round at the age of 7, the choice was mine. My dad and mom came to me asking if I wanted to swim year round or continue playing soccer and baseball every year. I chose swimming and entered a world long practices and long weekends at pools around the bay area and country. While my dad was a swimming growing up, he really did have the same experience as I did, so competitive swimming was new to both us. I don’t regret my choice and my parents choices of my childhood. I am just more aware of the consequences. All of which I wrote about in a post last year about kids in sports today. Those memories with my Dad those early morning practice drop off will always be with me.
My dad loved us and his mistakes in life were not only his reality & lessons but lessons for our family as well. Whether it was in work, love, family or play, what we learned from him was to always love, forgive and move forward. Seeing my father struggle with his health is a strong advocate with my struggles, there is always better day ahead or a better way of life. He was open with me as a young adult about the early years of being a young father which made me realize, that being honest with my children about my struggles is important as well. Our eldest is 9 and I’ve been very open with her over the past two years about my struggles to be better parent. Patience being my number one topic of choice. Of course I am not spilling the beans about all of life's realities to a 9 year old. Just the basics, the basics of how our lives are simple compared to others realities and to be compassionate of others struggles, even in our own family.