Eleven days ago our community lost a great man all too soon. While I did not know him personally, many of my patients and friends did.
As I sit next to my own husband. I shove the thoughts of life without him out of my head.
It’s not that I wouldn’t be able to support our family financially—he took care of that.
It’s not that I wouldn’t know where all the important papers are—he took care of that.
It is very simple.
I am not good without him.
Take this Friday night for example. I decided to drive to the beach with the kids and have Chris meet us the next morning. After he packed the car, filled the tank and gave the kids stern warnings, he looked me in the eye and said “Now you be careful with my babies…don’t talk on the phone..don’t get into a fight with Maisy.” Not long after, we were hopelessly lost in a horrific part of North Philly at 10:30 pm. Maisy was my teen navigator. I had handed her my phone and asked her to keep an eye on the map. She turns up the music, sings along, explains the lyrics and basically does NOT follow the map. I was so happy that she was actually sort of speaking to me that I did not interrupt. Finally, 20 minutes into the trenches of one of the worst neighborhoods in Philly, she admits that she has no idea where “the blue dot” is. Or how long ago we got off track.
I broke both promises as I dialed Chris’ cell while simultaneously screaming at Maisy for not paying attention. As only he can, Chris sensed the panic in my voice. He got on line and stayed on the phone. Basically, he talked me out of the abyss turn by turn. Patiently and without reprimand.
Because, that is what he does. He fixes things: a road trip gone bad, a drippy faucet, a torn up knee, a teen’s broken heart. Dad makes it all better.
He can show our kids the the proper way to hold the cello bow, the simplest way to solve a math problem and how to make the world’s best chocolate chip cookies.
He is gentle and stern at the same time—commanding respect just with the tone of his voice.
He is the one person in the world whom I aspire to be more like. When he is around, I am calmer, I laugh more, and I take myself less seriously.
When Chris finally made it to the beach yesterday, all three kids were ecstatic to see him. Even though it had been less than 24 hours since they were with him, it was like he had been gone a month.
“Build a castle with me Daddy!”
“Come in the water with me Daddy!”
“Wanna play catch Daddy??”
I know that he has not felt great the last few days. I know that he is exhausted. Regardless, he plops right down and gives every kid their due and then some—never grudgingly, always as if it was them doing something for him.
I am making a prediction.
The next time someone asks Chris what he wants for Father’s Day, he will look at his three kids (challenging, demanding, and time consuming creatures that they are) and say that he has everything he could ever want.