For those of you that don't know, my dad died on December 23, 2005. It's been almost six years since he passed away but not a day goes by that I don't think about him and wish he were here. Today, in particular, my thoughts go to him. Today would have been his 63rd birthday.
This is the first major family event that I am missing while in Africa. For the last few years, we have all gotten together on my dad's birthday to eat a good meal and make a toast to my dad and then share our favorite stories and memories. Even if we were having a hard time dealing with his absence, it was comforting to be around people I love and to be remembering all the things we loved so much about my dad. This year I am joining my family in this tradition in spirit from halfway across the world.
I am also being joined in celebrating my dad by my new Bots 10 family. They have sent me messages of love and support and offered a variety of different gestures all in memory of my dad. I have been so grateful for each and every person that has reached out today.
In fact, today has been a really wonderful day for me. I was a little worried since it had the potential to be very emotional. I am relieved and quite happy to say that it has been one of my better days in Botswana. (This is probably not a coincidence. I am sure my dad has some role in this somehow.) My day started by waking up ten minutes before my alarm was schedule to go off. I felt rested - a rarity these days. I made myself a big cup of coffee and took a long hot bath. I had a physio appointment scheduled for today in Gaborone so, instead of going into the office, I wandered to the bus stop with all three of my compound dogs following close behind me. I recognized people as I walked down the earthen road and was greeted with big smiles and waves. I had a nice chat with a man at the bus stop and then caught a really wonderful hitch into Gabs. The man I had been talking with ended up paying for my ride without so much as a phone number request. It was just a nice, sincere gesture from a welcoming man. Then I got the front seat on the combi as it was about to pull out of the rank (this is HUGE because the combis get super packed and sometimes you're basically sitting on people's laps, plus the front seat gives you extra space). I got to my physio appointment about 30 minutes early because of all the wins with rides - I was prepared with my book (The Poisonwood Bible) so I was keen to sit and read in the waiting room. But just as I was getting comfortable, the doctor came out and said he could get me in early, which also left me with extra time for my appointment so I had a really long and wonderful massage. Afterwards, I went to one of the malls to get a mango smoothie and look for a pilates ball. Not only did I find one at the first store I went to but it was on sale and it came with a pump! (Those of you who know me, I'm sure you realize how happy this makes me! SALE!) Now I'm sitting in my living room, the smell of fresh baking bread filling my house, and listening to some amazing music. I can hear children laughing in the distance and can see puppies playing in the yard. It's all so pleasant and welcoming and wonderful.
I'm in a good place now. This is incredibly comforting. To think back even a few weeks ago, I don't think I would have fared as well. I am stronger, happier, and more comfortable in where I am, who I am, and what lies before me. And I am grateful. All the bumps and hiccups and heartbreaks along the way have gotten me to this point. If I am honest, I think that was one of the lessons of my dad's life. His life was full of ups and downs, some things that were wonderful and hysterical and sad and difficult, and there definitely wasn't enough time. But he kept at it and tried new things and stopped to watch a sunset or to play with his kids. So that's what I'm going to do to honor him this year. I am going to seize the day, keep on truckin when things are tough, laugh at every juncture, and take time to embrace the moments because you never know when it's going to end.
Happy birthday daddy! We'll keep on rockin in your honor!
|Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul|
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away