While yesterday was my birthday…what I thought about more than my birth, was my Dad.  Of course he is the person I have been closest to since the day I was born.  I miss my Mom something terrible, but dwell on all of the gifts that she gave me while she was here.  No, not the wrapped gifts, but those things that have made me so much the person I am.  With Dad, it’s different.

Dad is sunshine every day. Dad has always brought the info, the perspective, the affirmation, the total support…the fun.  Presently Dad has Alzheimers so his memory is all but gone.  Does that erase the past?  I think not. Sometimes I mention a scene from our past that jogs a memory, or engenders a smile…today it was Morgan Fear Not.  Morgan was our Bassett hound…a dog whose ears were longer than his legs. Morgan was always in danger of leaving paw prints on the inside of his velvety soft ears.  Dad smiled from ear to ear for a moment  at the thought of Morgan, and then it was gone.  That’s the way it is.  Sometimes there is a flash of memory, sometimes not, but, always Dad is kind.  Dad waves to everyone on street corners, loves to talk with drivers who pull up in the lane next to us, notices that I have silver toenails.  When we had breakfast at Delish this morning, Dad stopped to talk to the uniformed school kids and the big burley, scowling man…everyone smiled in return.  What a gift!

This Dad is a version of the full on tall, strong, brilliant man that was my Dad until a few years ago.  This Dad still gives the best hugs, and still holds the door for me, he still wants to pick up the tab, and take out the garbage.  This Dad still wants to be a gentleman, and have a reason for being.  This Dad still warms my soul.  This Dad sometimes pierces my heart, because I know that this Dad is fleeting.  The concept of Dad, the heart of Dad, the warmth of Dad, the smooth cheek of Dad, the gentle kiss of Dad are all mixed up in my heart.  That Dad who held me while we ice skated long ago, who was so strong, and gentle at the same time, whose grace belied his size…this Dad who holds my hand now but needs my strength to guide him…they are the same…they are different…he will one day be gone…and he will always be here.

Well, that’s how my birthday went.  I am grateful that I could spend the past few days with Dad.  We dined, and breakfasted, we whistled, and shuffled, we held hands, and I became the leaning post.  The transfer is happening, the understanding is yet to come. I guess that’s what should happen to mark birthdays.  We should be aware of who we were, and who we are becoming.  I always quote my mother as saying “growing up  is the change from being cared for, to being the caregiver”.  I may almost  be grown up…but I see that as we grow…sometimes it goes the other way.  It is clearly a circle, a cycle, a ride…a gift!  Happy Birthday!

always learning

Dad and Sarah at Merge

fresh from the garden

tomato harvest

Yes,  at daughter Eliza’s suggestion, I will begin to blog as of this day…just a few days short of my 56th birthday.

A snapshot of my life this moment…sitting at my desk, in my great office on Delaware Ave, in Buffalo.  I arrived here with wonderful husband Jake and faithful dog Toby just an hour ago. Feet are aching from a long day yesterday (in the city by 8:00 am, back home at 10:30pm). Recalling my wonderful day with my dad Peter.  (You will hear more about him, probably daily). Thinking I should set up a skype date with son Max who resides in L.A., finding time to spend with daughter Eliza who will be heading west for a month or so, looking for  debrief moment or two with daughter Sarah who just returned from Boulder Colorado, and my daily joyful meeting with son Zack and his colleagues in the office down the hall.

It’s a wonderful life!  I know it’s a movie…but I really believe it to be so.

I will try to keep from the mundane in the future.  My days are varied and my life rather small (intentionally).  You will see photos taken on my iphone, my purse camera, and my professional equipment.  Most of the photos posted here will be an illustration of my life…not my art…on the other hand…who is to make those distinctions?

As always I feel greatly blessed.  I AM greatly blessed.  “Why me?”  That’s what we hear people say when something tragic has happened in their lives.  On the other hand “why me?” is my thought when I recall the embarrassment of riches which have been mine.  Thank you God for loving, smart, curious, and trusting parents,  thank you God for my amazingly talented, and equally caring husband, thank you God for my beautiful, bright, interesting children.  Thank you for my loving step mother and my darling daughter in law. Thank you for the ability to take pictures, and read books, and interact with people in all aspects of my life. Thank you for a home near fresh water and life giving trees.  Thanks for the energy which which keeps the house warm in winter and the pool  warm in the summer.  Thank you for all of the people who help me daily so that I can in fact enjoy  my days fully…Wally, Debbie, Annie, Tracy, Pete,  Carrie, Ken, Zack, Brian, Tom, Greg, Michelle, Jennifer, Brooke, Mike and Greg, David, Susan…all the Mergers…and the list goes on.

While on the subject of thanks,  I need to throw in a few people who have passed…Mom, Grandma& Grandpa K, Granny and Grandpa V, Harry and Mary, … this is beginning to feel like the litany at bedtime prayers when we would prolong bedtime be remembering everyone in our lives.  Suffice it to say…I have been greatly and sweetly blessed.  Thank you all!