Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The first week of January

Today is my dad's birthday - January 7th. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary - January 8th. The first week of January is an emotional week for me, to say the least, especially since it comes right after the holidays, and this year, it came one month after the birth of my precious baby boy Liam Thomas

I miss my dad every day. I mean every day, without fail, and it is awful and yet so beautiful that I think about him so often. Today especially my heart is breaking because I know that my two boys will have no memories - not one - of my amazing father blowing out birthday candles on a pineapple upside down cake (his favorite), or opening gifts (ordinarily See's candy or white socks or undershirts...he was both predictable and practical :)), or doing anything that a grandpa should do on his birthday. Jack was 11 weeks old when he died, and Liam wasn't even a thought in our mind yet. So tragically, for many years to come, both of my boys will have memories of us going to the cemetery to visit his grave, of attending mass with Nana to pray for the Grandpa they've only ever seen in photographs, of family dinners where we remember what we have lost while eating his favorite foods and drinking his favorite bottle of wine. I'm sure if you've made it through the second paragraph of this blog, you now understand how hard it is for me to have lost my father.

On January 7, 2011, it was my dad's 50 birthday. We didn't throw him a big party or even host an intimate family dinner...because instead it was the night that John and I had our rehearsal dinner as we were getting married the next day. We chose to get married as early as we could in January because I originally really wanted a Christmas wedding, but it couldn't happen because of my work schedule. The first Saturday, aside from New Years Day, was the 8th, and fortunately the church we got married in even left up the Christmas decorations for us! Anyway, my dad didn't even blink an eye regarding the wedding date, because of course, like always, he put others first. I remember asking him if we could at least have a birthday cake to honor him at the rehearsal dinner, and he said something along the lines of, "Please honey, this is your wedding! My birthday is nothing compared to the sacrament of matrimony. I would be embarrassed if it became about me even a little bit." 

Although this time of year is difficult for me, one of the things that I am most grateful for is that I met John when I did, and that we knew so quickly that we were meant to be married, because without those two things I would just be celebrating my dad's birthday but not a wedding anniversary. In this day and age, the odds that a college educated woman with a promising career would be married by the age of 25 are slim (back in the day, I myself said I wouldn't get married until I was 28!), so I am so grateful that God blessed me with the gift of marrying the right man at a young age. John was able to ask my dad for my hand in marriage; my dad was able to support and counsel us during our engagement on issues big and small; my dad was able to walk me down the aisle and give me away to my husband. Of all of the things that I am missing out on in losing my dad already I am deeply comforted that my wedding was not one of them. I love looking at my wedding pictures and seeing his smiling face.

This is Dad and I at the house in Patterson where I was raised, right before we left for the church. That morning I spent three hours at the salon getting my hair and makeup done and by the time they were finishing up their work I was starving. (They had only given me a few orange slices to snack on...obviously they had no understanding of how hungry I was!). As I complained about my grumbling stomach, my mom texted my dad and he made some food for me as we rushed back to the house. I remember standing in the kitchen, hair and makeup glamorously styled, scarfing down the egg rolls and pot stickers he had prepared (from the freezer) before slipping into my wedding dress, putting on my jewelry and veil, and taking this very picture.

I wish I could remember exactly what we talked about during our father-daughter dance. It was such a special moment and so much of me was so sad to be married because I knew I was starting a family of my own and that I would miss my parents so much.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding reception - a candid shot of the four of us talking on the dance floor. Mom of course is bustin' a move. :) I love that John and my dad are deep in conversation in this photo because I know that in the months that followed they continued to converse about so many things. John really respected my dad's opinions and perspectives and I know my dad felt the same way about John.

I really adored my dad and I'm so grateful for everything that he did to make me the woman I am today. I pray that he is in heaven, and that he is watching over our family and especially my two little boys always.



  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for saying that Katie - I'm so glad that you got to know him so well. I often think of our road trip to Texas with him and how all three of us talked about so many things. And how we stopped every 2 or 3 hours for a potty break and something yummy to eat! :)

  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it Annie - missing you like always!

  3. What a great tribute to a wonderful man, Kelly!

  4. Megan Phillips (Holloway)January 9, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    Kelly! Wow, what a beautifully written blog post. I cried through the entire thing. I can relate so much to the things that you said and how you honestly think of him every single day. I do the same with my Dad. Like you, I feel so lucky that Kyle was able to ask my Dad for my hand in marriage. We are both very fortunate to have had that happen. Always remember that even though your boys won't physically know your Dad, he lives on in you! They are lucky to have you! Sending you lots of love the strength! :)

  5. Megan, I am so glad that you have some of the same great memories with your dad that I have with mine! I will be thinking of you, and praying for you, as you navigate the first year without your father as I know how difficult it is.