Father-ness

My father died eight months ago, so today is my first Father’s Day without him.

This was my dad:

This is my dad waaaayyyyy back in the day, marrying my mom (it’s how I came to be):

This is my dad, holding me after I was born:

Me and my dad were tight, like super tight, when I was little.

This is one of my most favorite memories of all times, just raking the leaves (in the best windbreaker that has ever existed on this entire planet, man I loved that thing):

The things I love most, still, are the things I did with him ever since I was a child…

Swimming:

And swinging:

And bike riding (even though I had training wheels until I was in sixth grade, totally embarrassing, but which we now know was because of the genetic protein deficiency that caused my hearing loss also):

When I do any of those things, I still think of my dad.

My parents were “goodly parents” in these ways, making all things fun so that I could learn them quickly and well.

Except fractions.  Dad didn’t make fractions fun.  Yikes.  But we got through it (thanks, mom!).

I got to do ballet and tap when I was little, which was absolutely hilarious, because I didn’t “get” it at all.

AT ALL.

The whole class danced their routine to the music, and I just did my own thing.  I ran in circles and choreographed my own dance right there on the spot, no matter what the other girls were doing.  My parents were proud of me, anyway.

I got to be a girl scout once:

And there was that time I decided to be Benjamin Franklin in the school show:

My parents were “goodly parents” in all things most important.

The best thing they gave me was the freedom to try most anything, and a hunger for learning.  My father gave me a curiosity and a love to try anything and desire to know everything, and my mother gave me the gift of words that made it all possible and the work ethic to pull it off.  I am so grateful.

This is me and Neitzsche with my dad two years ago, when my hair was just growing back from cochlear implant surgery:

This is my Dad last year, with my brother on the left and my grandfather on his right and my nephew, Zac, in front:

Here is my last picture taken with my father, that day, a year ago, when I almost had hair again:

That was Father’s Day last year, a miracle day.

My dad died four months later.

The last thing my father told me was to do what God told me to do.  I try.  I try hard.

Those were hard months, intense and sad, with rare moments for farewell chats.  We talked about my mom a lot, and about my brother and his engagement, me being back in church, and his concern that I was not married.  I assured him that I was provided for, with my education and a good job, but also assured him that I would get married when I found someone.  My father told me it would take longer for me to find my husband than it would be for me to marry him, because once I knew, I would know for sure.

I can’t help but wonder what role his blessing and presence has played in me finding Nathan, so suddenly, so perfectly, so exactly as he said.

He also said to take care of my little brother.

My little brother who is about five thousand feet taller than me, my little brother who restored the priesthood to our family.

My little brother has been “my baby” since my mom first dared to bring him home:

We were best friends, immediately, and ever since:

I mean, for realz.  We were only 20 months apart, and we were inseparable – excepting for a few individual learning issues here and there, and a few times of being in trouble – such as when I told him those blue berries on evergreen trees were smurf eggs, and that they would hatch if he kept them under his pillow.

(Mom made those clothes for us in that picture, by the way.  How awesome is she?)

Now my brother is all grown up, with his own family.

This is my brother, with his kids (Sarah and Zac):

This is my brother, with ALL his kids, since marrying my best friend from junior high:

We are a miracle family, him and I, and the families we are creating.

My dad would be proud.

He is proud.

He is proud, I know, as we learn together, all of us, on both sides of the veil, and progress towards being the sons and daughters of God that we were created to be.

I know he is proud, and I know that he knows us better and understands us better from where he is now (April 2012 General Conference).

I know that he is pleased as he watches us following the Savior, as he witnesses our lives becoming in Order, as he delights in our progress and the unfolding of our families.

I know that he hears and sees and reads our testimonies, and our talks, and our teachings, and our interactions with others, and our behaviors as we learn to make good choices.  I know that he is learning along with us, and that we help each other, that he helps us more than we can comprehend.

I know that when he sees us being good, speaking truth, and seeking after righteousness, that when he sees us caring for our mom, helping each other – even blessing each other, and being kind, that when he witnesses our love for Heavenly Father and our striving to follow the example of the Savior and our responding to the promptings of the Spirit…

I know that then, in those moments, our dad looks up and sings, My God, How Great Thou Art.

I love you, Daddy.
And I miss you everyday.
Happy Father’s Day.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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