Dad retired after 29 years of service on the Fire Department and I’m a summer cloud of emotions. I’m proud of him, happy and hopeful for him, and a splash of sad about this big piece of his life that just ended. I felt some weird feeling of grief, which is strange because it wasn’t really mine to miss. My dad is amazing, and when it comes to men, no one can really measure up.
This year has been filled with endings that are fucking me up a bit. Well, not really a bit. More like…a lot. This was just the latest. And, while I typically have an easy time disassociating emotionally, I’ve had more than one moment that left me feeling “fragile”.
I don’t like being so easily affected. I’ve spent years making sure that worst-case-scenarios are accounted for, expected, and then if they happen I’m not all that messed up. I’m a master at pre-processing all possibilities and being ready for any outcome.
Sometimes, though, a moment just happens. And, sometimes you don’t plan for. So…”fragile” is uncomfortable. I guess even icy bitches have weak moments. Some are harder to shake than others.
Dad’s retirement marks something for me. For all of us. It wasn’t so much his retirement as it was that something passed. An invisible place in time has been reached. There’s been a shift in my little world, too. A slip down a tunnel.
I feel a little bit like Alice, just far less tolerant. And the ‘Drink Me’ bottle doesn’t make me grow or shrink, it makes me have feelings. (Rolls eyes with annoyance.)
This morning, I’m walking backwards down my Dad’s steep driveway. We are heading out for a celebratory breakfast. We’re taking two cars and I’m shouting to my Dad. “Follow me! I have a general idea of where I’m going. If I start to look like I’m going in circles, just bear with me. I’ll figure it out.”
“Okay” he says and I turn. Then, “Hey Heidi!” I look back. “You’ve been like that your whole life, you know.”
We laugh. I smile. He’s not referring to driving, or directions. He means life. It’s true, and I do know it.
I’m glad he knows, too.
I need people patient enough to stick with me when I seem lost. Confident and trusting enough to ride it out because they know I’ll eventually figure it out.
This year has been a bitch. I think this is the part where I’m circling the problems. The place before I figure it out.
I got lucky this morning. At the exact moment that my Dad felt like being a wise-ass, I needed to be reminded that I always figure it out.
Don’t be afraid to drink the bottle. Something will happen. Then, like always, you’ll figure it out.