Life’s trail markers

Yesterday I had the strangest day. I woke up feeling a little groggy and tired, like I hadn’t slept – but I had. I was in good spirits, but I went back to bed after breakfast to try to nap a little and get rid of my headache. It didn’t work and I couldn’t nap but I got super relaxed in bed and beckoned my darling boyfriend to come join me for “snuggles and”.

A brilliant leisurely start to the week if you ask me.

Except that after snuggle time I got word that my dad had been in a terrible accident. And that’s why I’m just now doing this prompt, while I’m sitting next to him in his hospital bed. He’s doing the crossword puzzle as I type. We’re passing time before he has surgery at 5.

Markers. Trail Markers. Who has been there for me.

Yesterday, in all the chaos, I called my dear friend, Lisa. She and my dad dated for about a year more than 20 years ago, but in that time – I was just a child, maybe 8 years old – Lisa and I remained close and she and my dad morphed into best friends – so much so that my dad has spent holidays and other special occasions at Lisa’s house hanging out with her husband and kids.

Anyway – Lisa and I were both venting about how my dad was being so casual about all of this – being such a fucking proper dude about it all and trying to blow it off like it’s nothing.

When I told him I was driving up to Utah (where he had the accident and was hospitalized) he was like, “Oh that’s ok I’ll just let you know how the surgery goes.”

And I was like, “Yeah, right. No way. Seeyouinsixhoursbye!”

Some things you just do. Some things you just know. This is just what you do. I asked my boyfriend why he didn’t hesitate in dropping everything and coming with me and he said, “It’s just what you do.”

So back to the frustration of my dad’s casual nature about all of this. Lisa said, “You know – your dad has always been like this about everything. Even about you and all of the crazy things you’ve planned and done.”

And I said I knew what she meant. And that I’d said a bunch of times how I have always been a free spirit, always followed my heart and just done whatever felt right at the time. And my dad has always supported me in everything from moving to New York to live with my current boyfriend and my ex-boyfriend (obviously a terrible idea) to getting divorced to having an abortion to all the crazy business ideas I’ve pursued. Everything. He just goes with it. He doesn’t try to talk me out of it. He doesn’t project his own fears or ideas.

And that is a massive gift because I’ve been able to spread my wings sooooooo far knowing I always have my dad there waiting for me. He’ll always be there for me. He’ll get me out of any mess that I’m in. He’s always there, always just being.

He’s the happiest person I know and the most generous person – to a fault though sometimes and that’s been a big topic of conversation lately.

Dad – take care of yourself. Stop taking care of everybody else – they can take care of themselves just like you can. Stop enabling them. Hell, let people take care of you for a change.

In a way, my dad has always been my trail marker. He’s a giant bright shining unwavering beacon of home, safety, love, and acceptance. He’s the one person in my life that has always been constant.

My dad never remarried after he and my bipolar crazy mom divorced when I was a baby. I’m his only kid (that he knows of, he likes to joke). And he’s my guidepost.

It’s not like we never argued – like the one time he was helping me clean out my apartment and an old boyfriend had left some stuff behind. My dad was like, “Do you want to call him and have him come pick it up?”

And I was like, “Fuck no, dad! He’s a fucking asshole. I’ll leave it out in the hall after we’re done here and send him a damn text. And I might not even do that.”

And my dad laughed and just let me do it because it was mine to do.

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