I wish I had thanked you for the butterscotch candies on the desk;
the dance parties (the ones where my feet on top of yours made indentations in the living room carpet);
the long car rides ending with ice cream in a baseball cap;
for the nights spent in the garage checking tire pressure and oil levels;
for conversations over cups of coffee and
for that time when we fought and you apologized by returning home from Kmart with a pair of black boots that made me feel like Debbie Gibson.
I wish I had thanked you for your belief in the beauty of that permed and pimpley faced eleven year old.
I know there were hard years.
Times in the blue chair when you wondered why your opinion once important now meant so little. Days when you wished a few laps around the high school track, your girl keeping pace, could bridge the divide.
Thank you for never waivering.
Your confidence would bring you through the dry spell until once again your words held weight.
I found you in the birth of my daughters.
Your smile in Audrey. Your hard-headedness in Sid.
I wish I could thank you for helping me to navigate those first sleepless night,
for the phone calls,
the long runs,
the days at the beach while I rested tired eyes and you wrangled little girls.
If you were here now I’d thank you for Ellery Jane. Her tough exterior, booming voice and tender heart is the physical reminder of your presence.
The places I found solace after you left us; your library and it’s books with your handwritten notations in the margins, they provided great comfort. I wish I could thank you for guiding me back to God.
Recovering from your loss is what brought me here.
Your death informed.
I want to thank you for Matt and Sydney and Molly and Zoey, for this life that longs to live in service to others.
Thank you for those thirty years of loving me on earth and the twelve spent guiding from above.
I hope I make you proud.
Forever your girl,