I’m going to preface this with saying that it’s a tear-jerker (at least it was to write.) Especially if you have a Daddy or a Papaw, have ever had a Daddy or a Papaw, or know and love our Daddy/Papaw. If you’re having a day where you don’t feel especially strong, you might want to come back to this one later. Either way, I’m adding a hug for each of you with this writing and I hope to just show up to spend some time with you very soon. I’m just sorry that I haven’t shown up sooner.
Daddy called today while we were lazing around watching t.v. He had been watching a movie which portrayed a young boy with breathing problems. This reminded him of Vance, who had asthma when he was younger. So Daddy called to check on his “Black-Eyed Pea” (his nickname for Vance because of Vance’s dark brown eyes). Daddy’s voice left no doubt that he was missing his Little Buddy. Since Vance has started working, what used to be regular overnights have become occasional afternoon visits. My heart ached for Daddy. I know just how he feels. I asked him if there was anything that he needed help with and of course his answer was no. I asked him if he wanted me to take him to an upcoming appointment. As independent as ever, he told me that he could get there himself. I hate that I have to qualify that last sentence with “as ever” because it calls attention to a fact that I don’t want to or know how to accept. It keeps on being a fact, just the same. Daddy is getting older. Our time with him is not as long now as it used to be, or as long as we want it to be. No matter though. It’s the fact, and regardless of what we want, it can’t be anything else. Which is, I know, exactly how he is feeling about the boys. So he told me that he just called to tell us that he loves us and we hung up.
I was gripped with an overwhelming need to do something, anything to bring him a smile and lighten his spirit. But what? What can I give to the man who has given his everything to his children and grandchildren? I came up empty handed and with tears in my eyes, I looked to my husband for help. “Do you want to go up there?” he asked. Without hesitation I nodded and went to jump in the shower where I came up with the idea of grabbing some Cracker Barrel dinners and just showing up.
I showed up in sweats. I showed up without putting on make-up. I showed up with my hair in a headband. But I showed up. I wasn’t sure that he would be home. I didn’t know if he had already eaten. But I showed up. I showed up with Vance driving the car that his Papaw had given him so that Papaw could see with his own eyes that his newly licensed grandson is doing great, and he can be proud as a peacock and he doesn’t have to worry. (Okay, that last part isn’t gonna happen, but I can try.) That’s what I have to give to him. Time. Myself. My family. And there is nothing else that he would value more than that.
Daddy and I are two very different people. I often worry about wasting his time with things that he just isn’t going to understand. Things like homeschooling and blogging and city life. But I’m starting to understand that he doesn’t care what we talk about when we are there, so much as he cares that we are there. So I just showed up. Next weekend we have planned to go to my sister’s farm in Indiana. Daddy and my brother and Dean and the boys are all going! And because we’re supposed to be there about noon, and because I’m eternally running later, I will probably be in jeans, a t-shirt and a pony tail. I’ve worried all my life that people will dislike the way I look or the way I’m dressed. But this time, I don’t care. I’m just going to show up. Because the times that we are all together are way to few and far between. And because I finally realize that these people love me. They don’t care what I’m wearing, or what I’m driving or about anything else superficial. They just want me to show up. So that’s what I’m going to do.
Daddy is getting older. We all are. Time seems to be going faster for all of us. So when we give time, when we just show up, it’s worth more than gold. The money I spend can sometimes lead to buyers remorse. But the time I spend, I will always be glad that I spent it if I spend on the people I love and who love me. So I will just show up, spend some time and give some love. There will never be any remorse in that.