In the Blink of an Eye

Today, Second Born Son graduates from Grade 8. I’m not really sure how that’s possible since I just took this photo days ago….

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But I have an invitation from his school saying that he graduates today, so I guess it must be true. There were hints that this was coming, like the grad photos that were taken last fall. However, as you can see, I can be forgiven for thinking it was his Kindergarten graduation.

2014 on the left, 2006 on the right.

2014 on the left, 2006 on the right.

The irony is, that SBS hasn’t changed all that much from either of these two “youthful” photos. He’s still quick with the smile, and the hugs, and the kindness, not to mention the one-liners. Reading his report card yesterday, I was struck at how much the qualities I love about him are the same qualities that his teachers appreciate in him.

Elementary school is 9 years that go by in the blink of an eye. I cannot image how fast the next four will be.

So proud of you Tootie! xo

Father’s Day

While I do try to keep my instalments somewhat regular, life has intervened, and taken precedence. My Father recently died and my priority has been to be with him as long as I could. Today was a difficult day and I feel that the best way to honour my Father is share the Eulogy I read at his funeral. We will resume with regular opinionated, funny and irreverent Bowery Girls in the future.

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Once upon a time, I had a part time job, and my employer was giving me a hard time about requesting more hours, although some of the other student waitresses were getting additional hours. She came back with a rather unusual statement: “Do you think you’re special because you’re D.B.’s(insert my father’s name here) daughter??”

I shared this question with my parents when I returned home, and we all laughed about it, because of the grandiose nature of the statement. “D.B.’s daughter!”

Obviously this person had an image of our father that wasn’t necessarily accurate. He certainly wasn’t egotistical or haughty. If anything our father was down to earth and unassuming.

As I reflected on this anecdote recently, I couldn’t help but think, what kind of man did this employer think he was?

What kind of man did I think he was? And then it came to me. Admittedly our father was not like other fathers. He wasn’t the kind of macho, tough guy that would show you how to throw a ball or change the oil in your car. He wasn’t into sports, unless you count car racing, and you would rarely see Dad tinkering away and fix something. He just didn’t have the patience.

But there were many things about my Duddy that made him unique.

My father was the kind of boy who developed a work ethic at a very young age, and took over his brother’s paper routes, when he lost interest, to supplement the routes he already had.

My father was the kind of boy who charmed the little girls in his class, and wound up moving next door to the girl who ended up charming him.

My father was the kind of young man who understood his role in his family and never shied away from responsibility and duty.

My father was the kind of young man who impressed employers. Beyond agreeable and hardworking, he had a sincerity that shone out from him, which is why customers and co-workers enjoyed him so much. He enjoyed people and they felt valued because of it.

My father was the kind of young man who didn’t play games when it came to courting. He was respectful, kind and the kind of boy any mother would want their daughter to bring home.

My father was the kind of man, who on the day of the birth of his first child, had to leave his young wife and newborn daughter at the hospital, and then do what we are faced with doing today, say goodbye to his own father.

My father was the kind man who decided at 32 years of age to walk away from a promising career he had worked more than 15 years to build. He did this because he didn’t want to be a weekend father; the kind of man who valued his job so highly that he never saw his family. His family meant everything to him.

My father was the kind of man who jumped into a career and lifestyle he knew very little about, but loved and grew to understand, even if he couldn’t control the weather, or pigs, or farm machinery.

My father was the kind of man who would sit on a tractor and tell me when a butterfly landed on his arm, that he thought it was my grandfather, his father-in-law, and how proud Grandpa George would be of us all living, and loving the farm life.

My father was the kind of Dad who told everyone how proud he was that he had not one, but TWO daughters, and made his daughters feel that they were every bit as good as a boy, in a time and place where sons were more prized than daughters. This set those daughters up for a lifetime of believing there wasn’t any reason why they couldn’t hold their own against any male.

My father was the kind of man who loved people and thrived being with them, whether it was volunteering with the Kinsmen Club, the K40, the Co-op, the hospital board, his work in retail, or simply hosting a family reunion with my mother at their home.

My father was the kind of man who barged into an operating room where my fractured arm was being cast, because I had broken through the anesthetic and he heard me crying out from his post in the waiting room.

My father was also the kind of man that threatened to shoot the horse I was riding when I broke said arm, but in the end left her fully tacked in her pen.

My father was the kind of man who loved to dance in the family room with me, my sister and my mother, and, eventually, my husband-to-be so that he could keep up with the Dancing Bowers. He was the first one to ask someone to dance, especially if they didn’t have a partner at the time, but he never danced like he did when he danced with my Mother.

My father was the kind of man who should never have been given a chain saw and let loose near trees he felt needed “pruning.”

My father was the kind of man who would say things like, “attaboy girl!”, “when I was a little girl” and referred to loved ones as “ my little Kumquat.”

My father was the kind of man you wanted to emcee your wedding – something he did many times, because he could speak to anyone, anywhere at anytime.

My father couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a .22, but he insisted he was deadly to groundhogs.

My father was the kind of man who was devastated when I was injured, usually on his watch, and liked to call me Stitch because of my various trips to the emergency room.

My father was the kind of man who would rush to defend his daughter, or confront anyone who slighted her, say, by failing to invite her to a birthday party?

My father was the kind of man who could make twigs grow into beautiful flowering plants.

My father was the kind of man who was pooped on not once, but twice, on the Chi Chi Maun, eventually forcing my sister to abandon him for fear she too would enjoy his special brand of “luck”.

My father was the kind of man who taught his daughters how to swim, and to appreciate the fine art of the cannonball. There was a beauty in how he enjoyed being in or near the water, whether it was our pool in the backyard, at the beach in Goderich, or in a more exotic location like Barbadoes, Florida, or Hawaii.

My father was also the kind of man who liked to have his kids with him when he worked, even if it meant scooping one of them out the pool every spring because she kept falling in…with her snowsuit on.

My father was the kind of man who took the job in the haymow, the worst of the crop jobs, because he didn’t want anyone else to suffer in the heat, in spite of the fact that he himself had terrible hay fever.

My father was the kind of man who felt no shame in cramming an overflowing forkful of cake into his mouth.

My father was the kind of man who didn’t care that his neighbors didn’t understand his choice of attire, whether it was a bathing suit and bib overalls, or the stylish leisure suit.

My father was the kind of man who almost always carried his wallet, but was a modern kind of guy, who liked when the lady paid!

My father wore pink before it was cool.

My father was the kind of man who liked to sit in the back of the mini van, and critique your driving; would only stop for a bathroom break if he had to go; and would jump in a co-worker’s car on its way by, when the two of you went in the ditch in your car, but because you were fine, he couldn’t see any point of him being late for work!

My father was the kind of man who was a terrific son and cared for his mother long after dementia robbed her of who he was.

My father was the kind of man his daughters wanted to marry. A man who loved children, was young at heart, and was a father to his children.

My father was the kind of man who was so good at his job, that if his customers came to the store and he wasn’t working, they were known to leave because no one else could put together a suit as well as my Dad could.

My father was the kind of man who was open and welcoming when a boy came along to date one of his daughters, unless that boy proved to be less than deserving. He never interfered, but said how he felt and walked away.

My father was the kind of man who came to my college graduation even after he and I had an argument, and I told him not to come. Although I credit Mom with the save on that one.

My father was the kind of man who kissed me on my cheek, shook my fiancee’s hand and took a walk outside to compose himself after I showed him my engagement ring.

My father was the kind of man who became physically ill the day before my wedding, because he was so used to it being just the four of us, and the idea of our family changing was almost too much for him. Until he realized, it meant he got a son. Then he was happy as a clam.

My father was the kind of man who would help you move, and move, and move, and each time, he’d make sure you had the best flowerbeds in the neighbourhood.

My father was the kind of man who came by himself to the hospital to see his grandson in the days following his birth, because he was at work and it was closer, and he couldn’t wait any longer. And he brought Weurthers because he liked the commercial, and that’s what grandfathers and grandsons were supposed to give each other.

My father was the kind of man who wiped noses, dried tears and changed diapers, once he learned not to pin them to the baby. He loved nibbling toes or chomping a chubby foot – and if you were looking for your kid, just look for Dad and you’d find them.

My father was the kind of man who would come to watch hockey games, even though he could care less about hockey. He would also stay up well past his bedtime to watch ball games featuring players he was related to. He would wear ill-fitting team jackets because he was a proud Poppa.

My father was the kind of man who loved the ties his grandchildren gave him and wore them with pride. Especially the musical ones.

My father was the kind of man who would wake up ahead of everyone else so he could make egg McMuffins for all his kids and grandkids when they slept over.

My father was the kind of man who would never do something that people expected him to do, but would surprise you with an Easter Lily, or like he did on Valentine’s Day this year, show up with a dozen roses – then tell you they were on sale.

My father was the kind of man who worked hard, liked having his hands in the soil and enjoyed sharing the spoils of his labor; whether it was a bundle of asparagus or a handful of Glads.

My father was the kind of man who wasn’t perfect, and battled against his lack of perfection in varying forms, throughout his life. But he was perfect to us.

My father was the kind of man who could face Cancer, and still maintain a sense of humor about things that most people would refuse to discuss, never mind joke about.

My father was the kind of man who would rather joke and be sarcastic before a major surgery, because it was easier to laugh than cry.

You know, it would be easy to be angry and bitter about the past three years, but I am grateful for the time we had. I feel we all made our visits more meaningful, our hugs that much tighter, our I Love Yous that much sweeter. He loved our mother, and all that she has done for him, especially her support over the past three years, loved his daughters as he always has, and adored his grandchildren.

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M&M: You were the first grandchild and we all know how thrilled he was to have a little person in his life again. Poppa always loved kids, and having a grandchild, especially one that loved being his shadow, was all he could ask for. When your parents were married, he said it was doubly difficult, because he felt he was giving two of his girls away. Fortunately, his girls would always come back to him.

First Born Son: Your grandfather would never have asked anyone to name a child in his honor, but no one was prouder than he, when he learned we named you after him. He loved that you were a natural farmer and enjoyed sharing farm and truck magazines with you. Poppa loved your work ethic, ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. He was as proud of your accomplishments in sports as in the vegetable garden.

Second Born Son: You are blessed or, perhaps cursed, with resembling your grandfather. You are living reminder to me of my father every time you eat a mouthful of cake, and even more so when you swim. Your love of the beach, your sense of humor and the twinkle in your eye are all things that Poppa loved about you, and will keep his spirit with us.

O: Poppa started keeping track of all the grandkids sayings around the time that you came into the family. You are an old soul and your wit and observations were often reiterated by Poppa, when he shared stories of O. Another one of his water babies, he loved how you could spend all afternoon in the pond and be ready for more the next day.

E: As you now understand, Poppa has a history with spunky little girls, so he was more than ready for another spunky girl when you came to our family. He was pleased to see how you joined in with the other grandkids when it came to chasing frogs at the pond or getting lost on a walking trail.

G: Only one person can name more cars than Poppa, and that’s G. He got a kick out of how much you enjoyed your cars, and how you could remember details about the models and years. You are a boy after his own heart!

Big Guy: You were the son Dad never had. He always took your side against me, and was so very proud of you, as a man, as a husband and especially as a father. I’m not sure what he liked most about you, the fact that you are such a hard worker, or that he could dress you up as your personal stylist.

CK: Dad was pleased that Little Sister found such a wonderful match in you. He loved your sense of humor and hated your ability to fix just about anything, because let’s face it, Dad was no handyman. I think he could see in you the kind of father he was, and he admired you for it.

So for all these things, and for so many more, to answer that person who asked that ridiculous and I suppose, rhetorical question so many years ago, Yes, I do think I’m something special, because I am one of DB’s daughters.
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