It's the little things that remind me of my Dad that bring me to my knees these days. The unexpected, I didn't see that coming, little tiny triggers that just makes me wish for one more conversation with my Dad. The other day, it was seeing a man of a similar age to when my Dad died, adjust his eye glasses. And it's those little things that pop into my mind. The time I was visiting my Dad when he was sick, and he was just standing there, cleaning his glasses. These are the triggers, those simple, basic, everyday actions that adhere to our memory bank, that get triggered innocently enough.
And now, it's the conversations I find myself having with myself, wishing it was my Dad standing there listening. But I have learned that these conversations give me peace. While he isn't 'there' he is 'there' and the process of talking through things like I would have with him before, give a similar sense of support. As I have gotten older and seen my kids become their own more clearly defined personalities, I hear my Dad talking to me about the things I know he would have said in those moments. It happened the other day, my kids were jumping and flipping on the trampoline. There was some pushing and some squabbling, and as I was about to get worked up, I heard it: "Andrea, just let kids be kids." And so I did, and sat back and watched and sure enough, it all worked out and yes they were loud, and worrying me a little with the flipping. But they were testing their boundaries, resolving their challenges, and being kids.
Influence is profound. I'm now understanding just how engrained the influence of our parents really is. My Dad was an observer, a listener and non-reactive. As I have become older, I see these things in myself more and more. Sometimes I wonder if that's just what happens with age, but in a heated Community meeting last week I watched as emotions escalated around me. I felt my own emotions trigger, but I observed and listened. It's tough to fight these influences, and in many ways, we become our parents, and as much as we may fight this in our youth, we embrace it with age and wisdom. The things we may have seen as our weaknesses we see as our strengths as we grow into them.
While the small triggers and reminders take me down, they actually bring me to a really good place, where I reflect on the great fortune I had for the 37 years of my life that my Dad was alive. And to leave a legacy of positivity, influence and warm reflection is a legacy worth more than anything my Dad probably ever imagined he'd leave behind.
Happy Father's Day to my Dad, and yours, and those Dad's here and somewhere beyond.