I wish my dad was here to see all of this.
It’s one of those overwhelming waves of grief, the ones you know are going to happen, right? But you just never know WHEN. Today it hit me as I was climbing a steep hill on my hike, and it hit hard, with those wracking sobs that make it hard to catch your breath.
I was thinking about how I’m just dying to talk to him, to tell him about everything. That Arik started playing soccer and is obsessed with Minecraft. About Kira having a 4.0 at school and getting into National Junior Honor Society.
I was thinking I want to talk to him about how hard I’ve been working on StacyKAcademy.com, and to thank him for not TELLING me that hard work pays off, but for SHOWING me. I wanted to thank him for letting me figure shit out on my own, letting me screw up, and letting me learn from all of it.
I want to tell him thank you, for one simple sentence that has stuck with me for almost 20 years. He and I were shooting pool, having beers, and I was telling him that I was getting some flak from a couple of my siblings (I’m the youngest of his 5 kids) for moving back home. As he was about to take his shot, he looked up me, over the tops of his glasses and said: “Don’t worry about what your sisters say, Stacy, you’re the one I’ve never worried about.”
That simple statement, that one sentence.
My dad was pretty subtle about things - the joke with my sisters and my brother is that he’d always give you just enough rope to hang yourself with - and over the years, I’ve thought about that sentence. In the context of all the other conversations we had, I know now what he was trying to say, but in a way that I’d have to figure out on my own.
He was telling me that I would do things on my terms, no matter what those things would be. That I would do what I’d always done; get an idea in my head and stick with it if I believed in it, but let it go if I saw it was flawed. That I would do things in a way that drove my mother positively mad - I would do them my way, but be open enough to recognize my way might not always be the best way. He was telling me not to worry about what anyone else was doing, to just keep doing my thing.
As I got to the top of the hill, and could see the broken chimney and what was left of Edsel Ford’s Haven Hill retreat, I realized that while it SUCKS that I can’t share this with my dad, there are so many other people I can share it with - whether it fails or succeeds.
This will be my last article in this series; the last one before I officially launch StacyKAcademy.com. I’m banking on it being a wild success, but who knows? If it’s not, I’ll try to learn from my screw ups and at the end of the day, and I’ll sleep easy knowing that it I did in on my terms.
Success or fail, I do know that I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing for the last 23 years: bank reconciliations.
Because really, who doesn’t love that euphoria when it balances on the first try?
Editor's comment: "I think you will agree, Stacy's 'Personal Journey' has certainly succeeded with our readers." (Murph)