Last year in January, my 87 year old Dad, “Coach Dave” as they call him, drove from Wisconsin to El Paso, TX to go to his favorite steak joint. Once satisfied, he then drove to Florida where he spent a few weeks walking the beaches and enjoying some sunshine.
There was a discussion among his children about the trip. Should we let him go?
My husband’s answer: Go ahead and try to stop him.
This January, he is planning the Florida trip again, but this time he will fly from there to Costa Rica before returning home.
Dad visited me and my family for Thanksgiving this past week. We took in a Bucks game, and toured a historical mansion he wanted to see. We also spend a few hours writing his obituary, recounting significant events from his life.
It’s always eye opening interacting with a character like my Dad, especially since I’ve changed so much since last seeing him in June, when my Mom’s passing catapulted me into a frenzy of self-development.
In a lot of ways, time has stood still for him. He talked about people from my hometown, rattling off family names, streets, restaurants, and businesses assuming I would know who and what he’s talking about. I didn’t. I haven’t lived in my hometown since I was 18 years old, but for him, I’m still a part of that world… and always will be.
In watching him this past weekend, I glimpse into my past, how I was raised, what values he passed down, and ultimately, how I was both harmed and blessed up by his presence in my life. All parents do the best they can for their kids, no matter how misguided or inspired, and it’s not their job to fix it.
It’s ours. And that’s just what I’m doing.
Just try and stop me.