As I wrote last year, April 25 is my least favorite date on the calendar. The day my dad died. This week has been better than past years, partially because I’ve been really busy at work (i.e. distracted), and I’ve worked out three days, which always helps clear my head.
I was chatting online with my brother late last night – it was actually already April 25 for him. I’m not sure if the date dawned on him, but we spent a full hour chatting. I had other things to do, but it’s not often between his business and my work/kids schedule we get to catch up for more than a few minutes. We didn’t talk about my dad, but maybe we both sensed it.
I was thinking about my brother on my way into work. He looks like my dad and has become very handy like him. I started to think about all the things about my dad that I loved. Funny memories and things he enjoyed. I thought about how much he would have adored Avery, the grandchild he never met.
Then all of a sudden, it hit me. There is something about Avery that in the four years of her life, I haven’t been able to put my finger on. Then today, on the date that I dread, I realized it. Avery is, in many ways, a little girl version of my dad.
My dad would walk around the house singing and whistling because he loved music and was happy all the time. It’s rare for Avery to go an hour without singing (the kid sings when she poops!) or dancing.
My dad was always up for anything, at any time. When you ask Avery if she wants to do something, her answer is always, “sure!”
Avery loves routine shopping trips, just like my dad who would spend hours at Home Depot and Target.
And though it’s unusual for a kid who loves to perform, her brain also works very literally, and she’s a whiz at putting things together, from puzzles to broken toys. I remember my dad doing 2,000 piece puzzles on our dining table or fixing things in our home. I would just walk by and wish I had those skills.
Avery has this contagious laugh and zest for life that my dad had, too. Just hearing her makes me laugh. The last time I saw my dad I was visiting my family in North Carolina. I was watching my brother and his wife and my parents play beer pong, which was amusing itself. My dad told a story from his childhood where a kid in India (where he grew up) shot him in the foot. This shouldn’t be a funny story. With him telling it, it was. I laughed so hard I almost peed my pants (and not just because I was pregnant with Avery).
I think when my dad left this Earth he left his good character traits to the two-week-old granddaughter he couldn’t wait to meet. Sadly, he never got the chance. On this April 25, instead of feeling sad, I’m feeling grateful for the little girl who reminds me of the wonderful man my dad was. Now if only he’d left Avery some of his patience…