Saturday, January 23, 2016

Forever A Daddy's Girl: Remembering Dad on His Birthday

I've been putting off writing this post for days now. I've wanted to share so much, but I just couldn't make myself sit down and start writing.

Well here goes y'all...

I'll start with a little backstory. Many of you know I lost my parents in early 2015, exactly 3 weeks apart from one another. I've shared this story and several stories highlighting all that the Lord showed me through my parents during those last weeks with them.

This past Wednesday, January 20th, was the anniversary of my father's death. I didn't know what to expect or how I'd feel. For the most part, it was a regular day. But as I look back, this week I've felt an undercurrent of sadness. Just below the surface. I'm still grieving for sure. Think I will be for a while now. And for some reason, I'm okay with that. I don't feel like I have to be strong or brave.

And I think God's okay with it too. The Word tells us Christians that we shouldn't grieve as those who have no hope. But nowhere does it say we shouldn't grieve. 

Some pain is so deep, we never really get over it. We get through it.

So as I continue to move through the loss of my parents, I wanted to share a little bit about my Daddy. Today, January 23rd, is his birthday, so I'd like to celebrate him for a bit.

Join me as I honor my Dad by sharing just a few things that I loved about him.

1. My Dad LOVED his family

The Carl and Merlene Adair Clan
My Daddy was often quoted for this famous line of his... "Always put God first. Then your family..." I heard him say those words too many times to count.

Everyone knew my Dad absolutely LOVED his family. And that family included the entire family - aunts, uncles, cousins - even cousins twice removed. (And just what is a cousin twice removed? Anyhow...) My father loved community gatherings, he loved church services, but he really, really loved being with his family. And with four brothers, three sisters, and a heap of cousins, God gave him plenty of family to love.

Daddy and Me on my Wedding Day

He loved my Mom and his three girls most. My Dad was what I call a "Girls' Daddy" - a dad with daughters and no sons. A dad that wouldn't have it any other way. (I can spot a Girls' Daddy right away and it still melts my heart...)

When people joked my father about never "getting that boy", my Dad would smile and say, "That's all right. I've got three pretty girls." If he ever longed for a son, it never showed. He was perfectly content with all that sugar and spice in the house.

My parents with their granddaughters - Christmas 2012
Some of my best memories from my youth are my family's conversations around the dinner table every night. My father owned several businesses when I was young, so he had to be exhausted by dinnertime. Somehow though, he stayed engaged and energetic as we talked current events and politics. He listened to the onslaught of stories of our happenings during the day, and I don't remember ever seeing his eyes glaze over. His love for us overruled any fatigue. He'd always unwind later, reading the daily newspaper and watching his favorite sitcoms like "Sanford and Son" and "The Jeffersons". But dinnertime was family time. That was, and still is, precious to me.

Daddy holding my oldest son Kalin

2. My Dad was very PROTECTIVE

This is probably connected to my first point, since my Dad's protectiveness certainly flowed out of his love for us. But anyone who knew my father knew he was fiercely protective over his loved ones. So much so that my Mom, my sisters and I called him Cautious Carl.

During road trips, whenever we followed behind him, Daddy would drive slowly, making sure he wouldn't get too far ahead. When we traveled alone, we were always instructed to call when we arrived at our destination. And even when I was grown and had a family of my own, my Dad would call me on road trips to check up on us every few hours.

His calls would go like this...

Dad: Hey, how y'all doing?

Me: Hey Daddy. We're good.

Dad: Good. Good. Where are you?

Me: We're about 10 miles outside ____________." And I'd give an update on what town we'd recently passed. He would know exactly how many miles we'd driven, and how far we had to go. He could memorize numbers like crazy, and he kept all that information in his mind.

When we travel to Baltimore now, it makes me sad to know I won't be receiving any check-up calls from my Daddy. And yet, I treasure the memories of all those calls he did make over the years.

Daddy hanging out with my baby boy Christian

3. My Dad was very GENEROUS

My Dad was the kind of man that would give you - anyone - the shirt off his back. He loved to give to his church, community organizations and to any family or friends in need. 

He was the kind of father that would ask every time I talked to him, "So how are you doing? You and Anthony need anything?" And when we visited during the holidays and summertime, he would always slip some cash into my hands at the end of our visit.

I think my Dad was grateful for all the blessings God had blessed him with, and he just wanted to pass a little bit of that on to others.

4. My Dad was very RELATIONAL

My father didn't just love his family. He loved PEOPLE. He loved when we brought our friends around the house. He'd ask them how they were doing. He'd ask them who "their people" were, trying to figure out if he knew them or had any connections to their families.

My father loved connecting with other people. He was a true "people-person". As a matter of fact, during the last few years of his life it was difficult watching him age, becoming increasingly quiet and withdrawn. Often I'd see sparks of the man he'd been, but he was different. He remained kind, generous and loving, just quiet and to himself.

I'm so glad I have memories of the man he was. Today I remember Daddy for who he was - the man who loved his God and his church, loved his family, loved others -- and loved ME.

I love you Daddy and miss you so very much. 

On what would have been your 82nd birthday, I honor YOU.