Happy Father's day to all you Dad's out there!
As Splenda lies next to me napping, I thought I would take a minute and jot just a few random thoughts that I had while we were out riding our bikes tonight.
First off, let me say this: For the first time in many, MANY years, I feel like I might have done good on a holiday. Like I actually, with the help of my boys, made my man's day special. He wanted to go golfing with his boys. Check (sans Corbin - but he will get that one later). He wanted a barbeque and the kids that could come, be here for dinner. Check.
And then we skyped in Corb and Kar and gave him his real gift. A smart phone. Yes, I am proud to announce that both Splenda and I are now in the current century. We are a coupla hipsters now what with our smart talkie boxie thingie's. He was totally surprised, had no clue and is super excited. So yeah, feeling like maybe the day turned out well for him.
He wanted to go out for a little bike ride this afternoon, so after sending the kids off to their spouse's parentals we geared up and took off. He wanted to keep fairly close to home so it was mostly through the neighborhood and when riding past such familiar sites, it's hard not to have my mind full of random thoughts.
Thus, the guided tour:
Up the street and passing our friends house that is now sold and they are moving. Life hasn't been the same since Tracy passed and while life goes onward and upward, I can never pass that house without looking at the garage, the fenced back yard and being flooded with memories of our friendship.
Down another street. Looking at a house on the right, I remember that one of our good friends and Corbin's former basketball coach grew up there. Think about our friends, and the times of spending hours in the gym during tournament after tournament.
Past the elementary school. Where all three boys attended. How many PT conferences did I attend there? How many book fairs? How many Principal Pride's? And 6th grade? My boys had the best teacher! We would even change tracks to make sure we got her as the teacher. Think of her and her family. Wonder how everyone is doing.
Around the corner. It's a familiar corner that I've had on my run for years. Can picture in my minds eye me running it at oh dark thirty with my loyal Golden Retriever Kody with me. Hearing my own breath, her panting, and watching her tail flash as she ran.
Up around another corner and see the empty lot where a home burned down. Lot is for sale. I wonder what the price tag is. I wonder what that family is doing. What if I lost everything in my home to a fire? What would that feel like?
Around the next corner and the Newbold's house. Their young daughter Sierra was taken from her home in the middle of the night, raped, strangled and left for dead in the canal just east. There are still purple ribbons on their fence. I look at the back door as we ride by and my heart aches. Literally, life is changed for this family. Here, on earth - it will never be the same. I don't know if I could stay in that home. I utter a small prayer for them.
Back onto a connecting street to our home. I think of the families in each house as we pass by, some who live there now, some who lived there previously. I have another reality check that we have lived in the same neighborhood for a very long time. Maybe too long.
Instead of turning right to head home, Splenda instructs me to follow him and go straight. I drop behind him and just watch him. So far, we have been side by side, or me in front, then him in front. Him giving instructions, sometimes me giving directions. I realize how very much marriage is like that. We're on the ride together and most of the time we can ride side by side, but often one or the other needs to take the lead and the other follow. And that is perfectly okay. Even safer in some cases.
I follow him out to the main road and we head to an intersection. I ask which direction and he indicates that we are going to go to the main city park. I am more comfortable riding in the streets, so I take my turn to lead and give the signals. Just as with this difference in our abilities, so is our strengths and weaknesses in our relationship. I think the trick is to find them and use them accordingly. I fear too many couples give up before they find that right rhythm. 27 years, and sometimes we still have to figure out the beat if our timing gets off.
We head into the park and Splenda says, "I always think of this as the Chloee park". So of course, my thoughts go to her. What an amazing girl. So resilient. Such a smart and sweet soul. She's reading on a third grade level and even though we only got to say hi quickly to her today, I never tire of hearing her voice or seeing her face. She's been through a lot, that girl and I could have never imagined when she was born that she would be where she is right now. I credit her inner strength, her unbreakable spirit, her parents who do anything and everything for her benefit and well being, and a loving Heavenly Father that knows all and provides exactly what one needs when one needs it.
We pass a little family taking pictures of their son in his baseball uniform on the fields with his trophy. Ahhh.....Little League days. Gosh we spent so many days on the field, I don't even think I could calculate them all. Back then, it seemed SO IMPORTANT. The snack shack, the scorebooks, the umpires, needing just the right bat, cleats, gloves.....it was life. I no longer miss it. Not at all. It seems so far away, like a whole other lifetime.
We pass various families picnicking at the park. Balls tossed, kids laughing, chasing each other and swinging, adults sitting in the shade visiting. I can literally FEEL the happiness in the air. I remember Father's day's like that when the boys were little. I remember the afternoons at the park. Strange though, I don't miss them. I enjoyed them. And now.......I'm liking this phase of life too.
We leave the park, cross the intersection and head back into the neighborhood. Head west on a different street and I think of friends who have lived here previously and have moved on. How's life in Denver for them, I wonder.
As we turn a corner, I see Mindy's grandparent's house. My thoughts go to my DIL's. Serio. I think I won the lottery jackpot when it comes to DIL's. Each one so perfect for each of my son's. Each one fills a special niche in our family. Each one is loved by us more than we can adequately express. My eyes tear up thinking of my family and the perfection I feel. Not that we are perfect people, but that our family unit is perfect. Make sense? If not, that's okay - it does to me.
We turn right and then take a short cut through the church parking lot. Ahhhh, this church. So many meetings, so many spiritual and uplifting experiences within these walls. A baby shower, Jill's memorial, Tuffy's wedding, Luke's engagement.....a gazillion Young Women activities. I never knew one could feel so sentimental towards a building. A church. But as we ride by, I see the lawn where my friend told me some devastating news regarding her husband. I see the steps that I sat on and cried one Sunday when my heart was breaking for one of my sons. I see "our" parking spot.
As we head back into our neighborhood, we ride past a dear friend's home where we had many a YW presidency meeting. I think of her and her recent marriage and feel so much happiness for her. A long time coming and much deserved. Another reminder that Heavenly Father knows us, loves us and provides exactly what we need when we need it.
As we wind around the last corner, I see our home come into view. Our home. We've been here 25 years now. Sometimes I am so ready to move and enter new territory and yet other times, I can't imagine ever leaving. I see the tree stump where a quaking aspen once stood and my boys climbed. I see the bench out front that has been sanded and re-stained so many times that if I dare touch it again, it will fall right apart. I see the empty flower bed and think of Debbi and the year she surprised me and planted flowers. I hear Jordan barking because she can sense we're close by. Our home. Where we have celebrated 25 Father's day's. Do I want another one here, or do I want new turf?
As we put away our bikes in the Yankee room, set our helmets and gloves aside, I realize the beauty is that I/we don't have to decide about our home today. Instead, I just enjoyed the ride, let my thoughts wander as they did and simply enjoy the moment.
Now as the day comes to an end, and I'm snuggled next to my husband, I can honestly say: Life is good.
Can't wait for the next bike ride and the thoughts that will come......