Just a warning, today's blog is full of cussing. Because, well cussing happens when I'm passionate, sad or grateful. You'll get all three today.
15 years ago my father was diagnosed with cancer. A brain tumor. And if you know anything about cancer, you know that it's non-discriminatory and it's an asshole. (There, I said it. Cancer is an asshole.)
Right around a year later her was dead. It was that fast. As much as cancer was the major asshole in my family's life, I will give it this: it was swift, efficient and caused my father little (physical) pain. Much appreciated.
Today, I'm reminded of how that asshole came into our world and removed my father from my life. Today he would be 72 years old. And for the last 14 years, on his birthday (and even on my wedding day, that he missed) I cheers him with a shot of Grand Marnier, his fave sipping liqueur.
Birthdays were special in my family.
Every birthday, from elementary school up until the year my father died, he'd send me flowers. He really knew how to make me feel special. It was just one way that I knew he loved me. It was thoughtful. He went out of his way to do something he knew would make me feel special.
He also openly cherished my mother. And when I say openly, I mean mushy, gushy, lovey, dovey cherished my Mom. Quietly, privately, and gently.
Growing up I saw a hard-working man, who raised 4 daughters and loved his family. He worked a lot. And I mean A LOT. But when he was around my Mom, I noticed them. I paid attention to their love. You could almost feel it. They were quiet yet intentional about how they supported one another.
He'd call her Poo (short for Nancy-poo) and lovingly pinched her on the butt when she made dinner. I remember catching them dancing in the kitchen once, when they thought no one was around. She giggled and swooned. My brain will never forget that moment. Mom still tells the stories of how he'd take her to fancy conventions, and introduce her as, "This is my first wife, Nancy." (First and ONLY wife, but who's counting?)
My father showed me what love was supposed to look like. And my Mother's response showed me what it was supposed to feel like.
You're reading this, so by now you know me. I'm a self-proclaimed LOVE GEEK. You know that I am in love with LOVE and I think I have my parents to blame. Ok, The Notebook, Titanic and even the Little Mermaid may have had something to do with it - but at the end of the day, my parents taught me about love. And for that I am grateful.
They taught me that even when shit gets really hard (and it does!) you show up for and with one another.
They taught me that when life (kids, work, family, in-laws, illness, weather, finances, etc) happens to you - it happens to BOTH of you.
They taught me that there's never enough time in the day, so you must MAKE time in the day for one another.
They taught me that having pet names, pinching butts and slowing down long enough to dance in the kitchen can be the glue that holds love together.
With 2016 being my alcohol-free year, (yeah, that's an entirely separate post!), Sans the Grand Marnier, I say cheers and Happy Birthday to the man who taught me what love is and fueled my obsession with helping others to know it as well. Let's celebrate a man who knew a thing or two about love!