Tonight I had a bowl of cereal before bed. Seems bizarre to some, but to me it's fairly habitual. But tonight I did it for a reason. You see, tomorrow is my dad's birthday, and although he won't be here with us this year, we're going to celebrate him anyway... as best we can.
My dad enjoyed cereal before bed; he usually ate eggs or something different in the morning, but most nights, well after the sun had set, I can remember Dad getting up from the living room chair and sauntering to the kitchen. You'd invariably hear the the cereal box opening and the flakes tumbling into a bowl. I loved to watch my dad eat cereal--there was a rhythm to it. He'd take a bite and while chewing, he'd absentmindedly push the cereal down back into the milk, all around the bowl once and then... another bite.
Not unlike him, I too enjoy my carbs at night. And as I ate my cereal, I thought about Dad and all the ways we were so similar. We both loved the beach, we both shared a love language (acts of service), and we both loved to eat. We both loved to exercise--I often had a hard time keeping up with his brisk pace when we walked. He was diligent and disciplined, but he had a few weak areas. Donuts come to mind... and chocolate, though--bless his heart--eating it gave him a headache.
I loved working with Dad. He was focused, driven and task-oriented and appreciated those traits in me. He hated procrastinating and I too find the urge to "get it done" as soon as possible. He understood my struggle to find identity in what I could accomplish and tried to encourage me in the truth. My worth didn't come from my lists. I knew he was talking to himself as well. Dad was never too proud to learn. He wasn't afraid to ask for advice or help, and he was always putting others first.
I could go on and on, but I just can't tonight. I want to keep the tears at bay and remember him with light in my heart, not sorrow.
So tomorrow Mom and I are going to make donuts in honor of Dad, and we're all going to get together and eat. And enjoy it. Just as he'd want us to. And remember that... one day...we'll embrace again.