when i was growing up, my family spent summers on a lake in new hampshire. so, every year, the day after school ended for the year, we would pack up the car and head north to our little cottage on the lake. i have fond memories of those road trips, with my Dad blaring jimmy buffet tunes and smoking cigars while driving. to this day, the smell of cigars always reminds me of my father.
for many years since my Dad has died, i travel to a place i’ve never been for father’s day. often, the day involves some sort of outdoor activity, yummy meal, and cocktails. this tradition has proven to be a wonderful way of honoring Billy, for me to explore new land and recall the strength of my relationship with my father. this year, i had a weekend filled with pure happiness. trail runs, meeting new people, live music, and of course, yummy meals and cocktails. and this year, one of my new friends offered me a cuban cigar while we were tailgating for a concert. i don’t normally smoke cigars. and yet, what a perfect remembrance of my father. to sit in the sun, laughing and playing, and just feel him there with me. it was so incredibly relaxing and comforting. as i drove home the next day, tears fell, as i thought of my weekend. i was just so damn grateful where the weekend brought me.
Billy has been gone for almost ten years. the past decade has brought way more challenges than i ever imagined possible. and yet, i realize that his death has made me a better person. this father’s day tradition is one tiny piece of that. it has opened my eyes to the importance of shared time with others, to continue to explore my physical and emotional boundaries, to honor the people in our lives that leave footprints on our heart, and to embrace experiences that fill my heart with happiness and love. and a little cigar smoke. . . miss you like mad, Dad. happy father’s day. it was a good one.