As I sat eating lunch today I made the decision to multitask, eat lunch with one and use the other to click through social media on my phone. The next thing I knew I was turning my face into a wall a using my napkin to wipe away the tears that had begun to leak from my eyes. A longtime friend’s Father passed away this week on her Facebook account she had posted the message;
“The phone rang and my first thought was….it’s my dad. Heavy sigh, I wish he could call me one more time.”
I simply can’t imagine the pain of losing one of my parents, for more than 54 years they have been an important part of my life. Always there for advice, still there to make your favorite meal or desert, still there for advice on how fix or build anything. And then I thought about my own children, what an important part of each other’s lives we have become. What I would say to them if it were that one last call. The important things every Dad would want their kids to know.
If we could talk one more time;
I want you to know that while I thought I knew everything when I was young, when I got older I found out I made a lot of mistakes. The first mistake I remember making is when I met your mom I didn’t think my life could get any better; and then you came along and everything changed forever!
When I held each of you for the first time it was uncomfortable. And then I held you against me, so close I could feel your little heart and looked down into the eyes of true love. That when your little hand first held just one of my fingers I felt the responsibility of the entire world on my shoulders and I knew I would work hard to ensure you had good home, a place where you would always feel welcome and loved.
When you started to crawl and walk I was scared to death, you could now fall, find the smallest most obscure foreign object to immediately trust into your mouth, open cupboards and even decide that the toilet was the best toy to play with. The worst part of this time was you had no idea what we were talking about when we would ask “what is in your mouth!”. The fear that accompanied this part of your life was offset by those open mouth baby kisses, I never in my life thought I would be so pleased with this type of affection.
I loved when you started walking because you could hold my hand. And you did this everywhere we went for quite some time. It was even more fun when I had more than one hand to hold and now that I am old and walk holding hands with your Mom I still think about how good it felt to have your little hand in the other.
I cried when you went to school not because I was afraid you might encounter a bully it was because I my life would change. I knew quicker than I was ready that you would find friends and time with them would become more important than time with me. This was offset by how proud you made me at any and all school functions. I always had to make sure I had something in my pocket for your Mom or I to wipe our eyes on.
You have no idea how many nights I lost sleep worrying about you in these school years. There is nothing that can completely describe how much you will worry about your kids as a parent. I was no different. Any time I felt you were bullied I was ready to turn into a hired assassin to resolve the issue but was soon able to let go of these irrational thoughts to come up with a plan with how to deal with the issue.
This might also be a good time to let you know that parents make mistakes. I always did what I thought was right at the time and sometimes years later I would wish for another chance to make a better decision. You will be no different, time will pass by, soon you will have your own children and you too will make mistakes. Beware I want you to know now that I will still offer advice on how you should raise my Grandchildren.
I cried again when you went to college, not because I was worried about bullies, this time I was truly afraid. College you see is the real test on if the things you have been trying to get your children to hear really were listened to. Don’t drink or party with strangers, make a good friend and always watch out for each other, work hard, go to class every day, don’t do drugs and practice safe sex.
In most cases I knew if that guy or girl was the right one for you. I held my breath and said my prayers for the wrong ones and did the same for the right ones. That your mom and I would fall in love all over again watching each of you fall in love. You should know that love is infectious and all it takes to stay in love is to continue to do and say the things you did and said when you fell in love the first time.
I cried again the day you were married but I was also never so proud of who we were and what we represented on that day. That on the day you were married you knew in your heart and from experience what real love is, what it looks like and what it takes to make a loving home. For my girls I was also at the same time more nervous walking down the aisle than you and to this day I don’t know why. You should know that while I cried while we danced that night it was only because I was both truly happy for you and sad to know that I would also see you less now that you had your own home.
I want you to know that becoming and being a Grandparent for some reason is even better than becoming a parent and it is this in fact that is keeping me young so please have more.
That I love being called to figure out why the furnace won’t run or the lights won’t work because it’s nice to feel both useful and wanted.
I want you to know early that life passes by far too quickly, in fact if there is anything shitty in life it’s that it seems to go even faster the older you get. Please make sure you talk to the people you love everyday if possible even if it’s just to say hello or I love you and how was your day.
Last but not least because this is our last call, I want you all to know how special and complete my life has been because YOU were in it. That I learned so much more about life and got way better at living it because you came into my life. Life lived best is about being happy and content in the fact that we shared our love in a way that it will carry on long after we have left this earth. Know today that it was you who inspired me and because of that I will love you forever. Please share my love…carry on.
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