Saturday, September 23, 2017

Year 5 -- A Letter to Dad

5 years
And yet?
Just yesterday.

Oh Dad,
How can I miss you as much as I do?
Absent from here for five years.
And yet?
Still very present in all of our lives.

We had to pull out our old memory box this week.
Lance was wanting to wear Kevin's Varsity jacket on "dress like your parents day" at school.
He's a senior, ya know.
For real.
Our baby is in his last year.

I saw a picture in that box of you, m and me at my graduation.
You looked young.
Happy to have your arm around me.
Proud of me.
Your baby.
The last of five.
Your favorite.
I know.
I kid.
And yet, I think we all felt that way, Dad.

Remember the "tunnel tunnels"?
Those forever tunnel going under the mountains on our way to Virginia?
If I close my eyes I can still feel like I'm sitting on the hump in our front seat...
~The "car seat" of the 1970's~
And you are pretending to be scared as you drove us through that long, lighted tunnel?
Oh, and using your pretend voice?
I miss that voice.
Holy Smokes.
You know what?
I think I use that voice now.
With our grandkids.

I wish they knew you.
Well, wait a minute.
It's almost like they do know you.
Through us.
Your legacy lives on.
Your love for life still flows through us.
Those silly songs are still being sung.
Cards are still being played until all hours of the night.
The tickle mousey lives.
Milkshakes are still being made.
Even the "car game", Dad.
We all still talk about and play the "car game".

You made life fun.
You didn't take it all so seriously.
You laughed a whole lot.
And made us laugh too.
Ball games.
Trampolenes and pool tables.

We didn't have a ton of money.
Didn't live in a big house.
One tiny bathroom.
Shower in the basement.
Somehow though?
Our little home was a safe haven.
A comfortable place for everyone to congregate.
Mom's kitchen was always open.
Soup on the stove.
You siting in your rocking chair.
Reading the paper or waiting for the mail.
Available to talk.
To listen.
To tickle.
To rock.
Just plain available.
Thanks for that, Dad.

I broke my ankle this past year.
it was completely humbling and a tad bit funny.
I think you would have laughed.
But it knocked me off of my feet for a good couple of months.
And I sat.
You know what the kids said about it?
They kinda liked knowing they could find me on the couch when they needed me.
That was you, Dad.

If one of us needed picked up from school?
Call Dad.
If I needed someone to rock one of my babies.
I will just call Dad.
Ok... I know, you maybe threw it at us and said "Just take it all".
Haha... that makes me smile just thinking about it.
You know why?
Because it didn't scare me.
You never did scare me.
As mad as I made you sometimes?
I wasn't ever afraid.
I don't think ever.

Again, how can I thank you?
I think I'm learning how.
By being me.
Enjoying life.
Loving my kids.
Your grandkids.
Loving Mom well.
~She is starting to say she is ready to go and be with you.~
~You can't have her just yet though.~
~Not just yet.~
I can learn to laugh a little more.
I can stick with the Tigers.
I know right?
You know what I did one day when I was missing you?
I listened to an old replay of a Tigers game.
Just wanted to hear Ernie Harrell's voice.
Music to my ears.
The sound of my childhood summers.
Baseball and golf.
No Air conditioning.
No problem.
Sweat it out.
Go play outside.
Go to the pool.
Enjoy life.
Enjoy the outdoors.

You helped show us all how to live.
I'm sitting here with Leslie right now.
We are watching a few of your grandsons play Spikeball in the backyard.
Football is on T.V.
Mom is in Columbus holding your newest great grandson.
She got to see Sawyer play in The Ohio State Band earlier today.
I know...
Not Michigan...
BUT... you would be so stinking proud.
You would have shed a few tears watching him.
And let's be honest.
Holding that baby too.
And watching the boys in the backyard.
All of it.
You would have shed tears for all of it, Dad.
That's what we all love about you.
Your love for us.
Miss ya, Dad.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

My Bad Boys

Remember the good old days?
The late 80's - early 90's.
The Bad Boys.
They were incredible.
Isiah Thomas was my favorite.
That smile?
So cute.
Dad and I watched them every night when I was pregnant with Alyssa.
The Detroit Pistons?
In my heart of hearts...
Could do no wrong.
Joe Duuuumars.
Vinnie (the microwave) Johnson.
Dennis Rodman - Mom's favorite.
She said he "ran like a deer down the court".
We loved our Bad Boys.
Even Bill Laimbeer.
I'm not kidding.
In my eyes?
He could do no wrong.
I'm serious.
Stop laughing.
He was just what we needed.
He got the job done.
It may have been a dirty job.
Someone had to do it.
I knew he had haters.
Lots of them.
But he was good for us.
Good to us.
If there were flaws?
I could look over them.
For the sake of the team.
For the sake of the back to back championships.
I did not wear Bill Laimbeer's jersey.
Would never do that.
But I was a Piston.
Through and through.
Oh, and do you know who I couldn't stand????
Who was so evil in my eyes?
Michael Jordan.
So overrated.
I know right?
Michael Jordan = Evil.
How dare he keep "my" Isiah off the Olympic dream team?
He was so mean.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago.
30 For 30.
The show on ESPN.
A special on my Bad Boys.
How fun.
These older bad boys...
All talking about the glory days.
The fighting.
The "you do what ya gotta do to win" attitude.
The stories about Bill.
He was such a jerk.
They were all admitting it.
Even Bill was admitting it.
I looked at Kevin and said "He was such a jerk".
Kev laughed and said "ya think?".
"No... like I mean, a REAL JERK".
"Seriously Karen, you didn't know that?".
No! Nope! I couldn't see it.
And if I did see it, I excused it.
You know... for the good of our team.
Was I blind?
Who was I kidding?
It's just basketball though.
I mean, who cares?
Again... for the good of the team.
I "kinda" get it.
I'm just wondering if this plays out in other areas of my life.
Blind spots.
Looking past the lies... for the good of my team.
Oh Lord,
For today.
Open my eyes.
Help me to see what's really going on.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Bring Truth into the light.
Eyes on you.
The author and perfecter of my faith.
Lover of my soul.
Open my eyes.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Image may contain: outdoor and one or more people

hey dad.
4 years?
just yesterday.
and yet?

4 years later? 
here's what i know.
i think about you so much.
i wonder if you somehow know?
you are still so much a part of our family.
we carry on your legacy.
well, maybe not the michigan part.
you really liked those wolverines.
didn't you?
ya know what? 
i kinda did too.
I kinda still do.
our little secret, dad.

guess what.
we got a puppy.
man, is he ever cute.
of course, we named him after the ohio state quarterback.
jt barrett.
you would love him.
and he would adore you.

oh, and we bought a house.
you should see mom's room.
it looks like a little piece of schultz st.
the piano.
her hummels.
your wedding picture.
and we out in two sturdy doors.
she can watch hallmark and fox news now...
just as loud as she wants.

i'm sitting in our florida room as i type this.
windows open.
it's beautiful.
know what i love most about this house?
i can hear the trains.
sounds just like home.
music to my ears.

we have a big front porch.
just like growing up.
I have so many memories of us on that porch, dad.
you and me.
playing the "car" game.
hours upon hours.
we never got bored.
how did that never get old?

and you, sitting on our porch, watching me twirl my baton.
you loved to watch me practice.
you loved to watch all of us kids practice.
no matter the sport.
whatever the extracurricular activity.
our orvie would be there.
enjoying it all.
possibly even shedding a tear.
i mean probably.
probably shedding a tear.
every time.

oh dear.
i miss you dad.

you know you were a pain sometimes though, right? 
remember when tami used to come to the front door?
what you would yell?
every stinkin time???
"nobody's home!"
why was that funny?
every stinkin time???

remember how you would wake us up on sunday mornings?
"whoop de doo. whoop de doo.
time to get up and go to sunday school."
oh man.
i hated that.
"no dad...
leave me alone...
you wouldn't.
leaving us alone was not an option.
you were going to church on sunday morning.
and... we were going with you.
thanks for taking us dad.

thanks for waking us up with silly, ridiculous songs.
thanks for putting us to sleep at night with silly, ridiculous songs.
i'm still singing them.
the tradition continues.
rock and sing.
sing and rock.
and sing.

i went with alayna to a golf match the other day.
i had to get a hotdog and mountain dew.
for old times sake.
everything there?
was a reminder of you.
me and you.
so many summer days at auglaize.
driving your golf cart.
my dad owned his own golf cart.
coolest dad ever.
and you never seemed bothered by having me come along.
your friends didn't mind either.
i knew the rules.
right, dad?
be quiet.
don't drive the cart on the greens.
don't twirl the golf hole flag.
that was the hardest rule to follow.
i still wanna twirl that dang flag.
every time i'm at a golf course.

i was such a girl.
a flighty, boy crazy, girl.
a daddy's girl.

we didn't have much money.
remember when i would ask for $5 for mcdonalds?
your response?
"can't ya just eat a bologna sandwich?"
i would just smile.
and you would give me the cash.
you spoiled us. 
didn't ya dad?
with the little money we had.
you spoiled us.
at least, i felt spoiled.
never had designer jeans.
didn't live in the suburbs.
that front porch?
well, know now.
what you did give us?
worth so much more than money.
was time.
lots of time.
not a whole lot of lectures.
you weren't a man of many words.
you were a dad with lots of smiles.
and hugs.
and happy tears.

how about the time you went to the ER with me?
you made me laugh as they stuck me with needles.
and you told me to think about santa claus 
even though i was 28 years old?
it worked dad.
and i still think of santa claus today when they stick me.
and it still works.

i'm gonna say it again this year, dad.
you taught us well.
the whole "love of God" thing.
you never took all of our pain away.
we never asked you to.
you did, however walk through the pain with us.
always there.
always present.

even though you aren't here with us anymore.
at least not physically.
and we won't hear you sing "i've been working on the railroad".
or "comes the mousey, comes the mousey".
those days are over.
you have been transported to another place.

what you have left with us though?
your love.
love never ends.
your love for us carries on, dad.
your love for life carries on.
and your love for Jesus?
carries on.
in us.

as mom always says...
"precious memories,
how they linger".
your love dad?
it pointed us to a God who loves us.
it still does.
a father's love.
i know full well not everyone has that.
and money sure can't buy it.
i also know you weren't perfect.
although, mom thinks you were.
but on days like today?
we will eat hohos.
we will drink milkshakes.
we will watch videos of you.
we will laugh.
we will cry.
we will celebrate.
your love.
your life.
your legacy.

when the bee stings

oh silly bee
please don't sting me
i'm minding my own business
mind yours

do not make me scream 
at my son's tennis match
this is not the place to make a scene
and yet
i scream
everyone looks
i keep my language clean
~ thank goodness ~
coach comes running
assistant coach does too
everyone is looking
now what do i do?

just need some ice
i'm allergic 
but not like that
nobody panic
but me 
of course
on the inside
i know the swelling is coming
the itching
the benadryl
the big 

its been 15 years 
since one of your little friends did this to me
i've kept you at a safe distance
i've killed a few of your friends
and told them to go tell their friends
not to mess with me

i was not so lucky
you snuck up on me
i didn't see it coming

there is no time for this
go find yourself a flower

how can one little insect
inflict so much venom?
how can one big human
be hurt so bad by one little pesky bee?

 i should be mowing our lawn
instead i'm sitting here on my la-z-boy
feeling snowed on benadryl
ice pack on my leg
writing about you 

i think you might be dead
is that true?
do bees really die when they sting you?

why did i dress lance up like a bee?
that one halloween?
i thought he was so cute
didn't even think about just how evil he was

i know
i know 
we can't live without you
i need to respect you
bee thankful for you
~ see what i did there? ~
stop slandering you
if i can't say something nice

you won this one
little bee
dead or not
you got me
you got me good
i will tell my friends