Remembering B

My friend C lost her dad yesterday morning.

C was one of the first girls I met when I moved to the town where I grew up. I met her in kindergarten and we lived in the same neighborhood. We spent a lot of time at each other’s houses.

We were friends all the way through elementary school and did loads of activities together – Brownies then Girl Scouts, cheerleading (Go Packers!), and soccer. We had spend-the-nights, playdates (only when didn’t call them that then), and fights. (We were always hurting each other’s feelings. Our parents were very patient.)

We even made elaborate plans to sneak out and meet each other one night. I think we were eight? C got cold feet and told her parents who called my parents. C was worried I’d be mad when she didn’t show. I had no intention of actually showing up. I thought it was all a fun make-believe game. (Our relationship survived.)

Cs dad was a physically large man with an ever-present grin to match his size. He was funny and kind and loving.

He was a lawyer and, for most of our childhood that I can recall, served in the District Attorney’s office.

So I’m just going to stop right there and say that again. Lawyer. DA’s office. Despite the fact that our town wasn’t huge, that’s a demanding gig.

But Cs dad? He was ALWAYS THERE. He was always there.

If C had a school event, he was on the sidelines. Performances, award ceremonies, competitions – he showed up

Now, maybe C remembers things differently and I am sure that their relationship was just as complex as any other father/daughter relationship. But from my vantage point and now, as a parent, I just don’t understand how he could have worked such a demanding job and yet have been so present.

When I learned that B was going on hospice care, I sent him a note to share some memories I had and my appreciation for the role he played in my childhood. But mostly I wanted to let him know how his presence was noticed. It couldn’t have been simple but anyone who knew C knew her Daddy was her biggest fan.

This parenting thing is hard and it’s easy to second guess the choices that we make. But Bs life stands as a reminder to me of how important it is to show up as a parent. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all figured out. But being there … it matters.

4 Responses to “Remembering B”

  1. on 14 Jan 2015 at 10:25 amCarl Peterson

    That is just about the best “how to book” on how to raise your child I have ever read. And I think in the beginning we read a lot of them. The we decided that hopefully we had gleamed enough from our parents to do a good job. From then on it was just doing what we felt was right. Based on the results so far so good, but no matter what we will love our daughters. We had probably the best compliment you could ever get from one of our girl’s teachers in middle school. When she first was expecting , she asked us if we would write her a letter and explain how we raised our two daughters.
    I am not sure exactly what we told her, but seeing there for them was one of the first things on the list for sure. Thanks for the article it has brightened my day.

  2. on 14 Jan 2015 at 12:27 pmKristine Rudolph

    Thanks so much for commenting. And what a lovely, lovely thing for your daughter’s teacher to say to you all!

  3. on 15 Jan 2015 at 1:04 pmChristine

    What a beautiful story, KDPR.

  4. on 15 Jan 2015 at 1:20 pmChristine

    What a beautiful story and testament to a wonderful father. Thank you for the reminder of the importance to always be present – memories last a lifetime.

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