SAVORING THE ORDINARY IN 2014
By JENNIFER RAWLINGS
I like New Years and not just because it marks the end of the Christmas break and my kids go back to school. I like New Years because it gives me a fresh start, a new chapter and an opportunity for a new dream or goal.
The older I get the more I see that our lives are not a collection of stand alone essays with one year separating the next, but more like big delicious novels. If you are lucky your life might read like a thriller full of twists and turns and we never know what is on the next page – a beautiful surprise or heartbreak.
2013 contained both of those things for me. I had the wonderful opportunity of performing at the prestigious “Humor For Peace Festival” in Luxembourg. I did a TED Talk, I even got to perform at the oldest off-Broadway theatre in New York City, the Cherry Lane Theatre. I had the best summer of my entire life; I saw my children reach new goals and milestones; I spent 10 wonderful days in Kansas with my parents. During those 10 days I sat on the front porch with my dad every night as he drank beer and I sipped on wine. He smoked his pipe and shared with me stories of his life and I listened. 2013 was a great year until one day it wasn’t and it became the saddest year of my life.
My dad died on October 21, 2013 and as I type this my eyes still swell up with tears. I miss my dad everyday. I still feel raw and broken. He was a wonderful father and man full of joy.
Growing up with my dad was not a normal childhood – it was extraordinary.
My dad had a song, a saying or a system for everything.
The sayings were endless, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without” or “clear day tomorrow”.
My dad was frugal, so asking him for something was always a production.
“Dad I need $10”
“ $10 what do you need $10 for?”
“But movies are 50 cents.”
“No dad, they are $10…” and then my dad would rub his face slowly and hand me the money.
Actually, my dad never really said no to me. That is why I always went to my dad instead of my mom to ask for something. As a kid if my mom caught wind of my plans and objected, my dad would always come to my defense.
“Oh Marsha what difference does it make it? Let her do it.”
That was my dads response to everything: a late night trip to Baskin Robbins or a ski trip with friends.
“Oh Marsha, what difference does it make?”
My dad had a song for EVERYTHING. There were the dog songs he made up while walking the dogs. My dad would sing the dogs to sleep – he had songs to feed them.
When we were little my dad would wrap my sister Rebecca and I in bath towels and sing, “Angel baby your mine forever, angel baby your mine forever more….”
And my sister and I would chime in with a “boom-boom.”
He sang us “Scarlet Ribbons” every night as he put is to bed.
Every morning …every single morning my dad would wake me up by singing,
It’s up in the morning the breaking of day
The chuck wagons busy the flapjacks at play
The herd is stir over hillside and dale…..
This ritual really sucked in college when I was home visiting and had stayed out all night.
My dad didn’t just celebrate birthdays and holidays; my dad celebrated every moment of life. He made the mundane special and treasured those ordinary moments most of us ignore and take for granted.
The last words I said to my dad were, “Daddy, I have a very happy life and most of that is because you and mom gave me a very happy childhood” and he did.
Thank you daddy, I love you.
It’s hard for me to accept starting a New Year without my beloved father. So I won’t. I am going to carry the lessons my dad taught me over a lifetime into 2014. I’m going to treasure those ordinary moments and make them special. I’m going to savor every second of life and find new songs to sing.
Happy New Year