Dad of All Trades, Master of None

Domesticated, Not Demasculinized

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Guest post – Second Father’s Day No Easier

Posted by doatmon on June 21, 2009

This was originally written by my wife for Father’s Day this past June.  But as October represents the anniversary of her father’s passing, I think it appropriate to post at this time.  She has a talent for expressing emotion that I cannot dream of wielding.

Number 2

Not much different then Number 1.

The second father’s day without him is not any easier then the first.

The hole remains. The void is tangible.

On number 2 my brothers and I will run in a 5k in honor of my dad.

You see he taught us each to run. Not in the way that one teaches a child to throw a baseball or fly a kite.

He taught us how to live in a world with running. A place that cleared you head and released your muscles.

Some of my earliest memories are of evenings spent at the high school track under the watchful eye of my older brother while my father did laps.

I could have been no more then 4 or 5 but as my dad ran, I watched and I became aware.

My first formal lesson may have come closer to the age of 7. I can’t remember what prompted the lesson -it most likely was my first pair of running shoes.

Coke you always unlace your running shoes before removing them and most importantly these are not for playing in. These are your running shoes and should only be worn to run in. You don’t want to ruin them. These are special shoes”.

Indeed they were special.

I ran through high school in a half-assed attempt to be involved in the sport that framed his life. I was horrible. I was interested more in gossiping with my team mates then in actually finishing the cross country race.

In college I ran sporadically.

It was not until I was 24 that I came to a place where running became a regular part of my life.

On my visits home my dad and I would go running together. Up and down Clairton Blvd occasionally running laps around the high school that was a 2 minute drive from his home. He would run and talk as if we were having a conversation over coffee. I would mutter responses. There were cold days where I wondered if we would ever thaw out. The cold never seemed to bother him

The years went on and there where our summer vacation runs at his beach house. We would run to the club and back. He and I pounding the pavement together planning our daily activities and talking about the latest adventures of his new granddaughter my daughter French Fry.

When maternity leave and a second baby prevented me from vacationing with him he would drive out to Columbus and run with me while my mom watched the girls. I was now running to loose the baby weight. He would tell me how proud he was of me.

I cannot remember our last run together. I think it may have been on one of his trips out to see me. God how I wish I could recall that run right now. I would savor it and replay the conversation again and again. About 6 months before his heart surgery he had stopped running and had taken to swimming because of the arthritis that was affecting his hip. It was just temporary he told me. Nothing to worry about he would be running again soon.

Then came the valve replacement surgery. And then the infection.

As he lay in intensive care I held his hand and told him we would run the Pittsburgh marathon together. His eyelids twitched.

2 days later he died and I stopped running altogether.

Full stop.

Running was my sanctuary. Running was the period on my day. It took me away from the stress of life and no matter how fast or slow I ran that day it would make me soar like he had promised me it would. My dad taught me how to live in a world with running and now I could no longer stand to run without him. The thoughts that ran through my head were too painful.

A year passed. I am not sure what prompted me on that day to finally make the move. Most likely it was the insatiable need that a runner has to simply lace up his shoes and go. I ran and cried and ran some more.

“Honey, I need to go on a run tonight.” “Ok Coke I promise you will. You have told me three times today already you need to run”. That has become the daily conversation around my house.

My youngest daughter, my 2 year old, watches me lace up my running shoes and says “mommy go running?”

A month ago my 4 year old asked me if she could go on a run with me. Silently I thought to myself “darn it now I can’t even get 20 minutes to go on a run by myself”.  And then instantaneously I thought of my dad and wondered if he had felt the same way when I began asking to run with him.

I told her to lace up her running shoes and I would be back in 20 minutes to take her on the last leg of my run with me.

So on Father’s Day Number 2 I will run.

French Fry and Chicken Nugget will cheer at the finish line.

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3 Responses to “Guest post – Second Father’s Day No Easier”

  1. Melissa said

    She most definitely has a talent for expressing emotion. Beautifully written.

  2. nocodad said

    How are you doing fellow dad? Gearing up for Christmas?

    Ever check out Flight of the Concords on youtube? If not check out Business Time. Its a funny one.

  3. Colleen said

    Beautifully written, Coke. I can hear your dad saying everything. Brings a tear to my eye. Thanks for sharing ♥

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