Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

June 16, 2010

Don’t Assume Forever

Pepsi Cola hits the spot.  Twelve full ounces, that’s a lot.  Twice as much for a nickel too.  Pepsi Cola is the drink for you!

My cousin would argue the world is ending.  When more than a million frogs carpeted Greece at the end of last month, many went running for their Bibles to see if it really had to be locusts or if that was a technicality and mere frogs could warn us the end of days.

If you live in Michigan, there are a lot of things that just don’t seem right lately.   Strange happenings.   The University of Michigan is no longer a perennial football power.   Half of Detroit’s government has gone from hailed to jailed.  Longtime Tigers’ broadcaster Ernie Harwell has passed away.  The Great Lakes are threatened by predatory fish.  Red Wings’ Captain Steve Yzerman is no longer a Red Wing, officially.  Motown remains Slowtown in its recovery from financial disaster.

On a larger scale, Tiger Woods goes from hero to zero in a short span of sickening headline-filled months.  USC’s storied football program lands  just short of a death sentence while the landscape of college football will forever be changed by super conferences and realignments.  Many celebrities we watched and were entertained by for decades have passed into history.  The BP oil spill in the Gulf has damaged, changed and ruined countless lives, life styles, and habitats.

It’s a strange time.  It feels vulnerable to many.  Foreign and fearful.   So many of the things and people we’ve long counted upon have changed.  It’s not just the brown pelicans in the Gulf who are confused about where to land, where to return.

Without our prodding, in most cases.   Without our consent.  Life has a way of hijacking the bus, so to speak.  Making its own way…

Last Saturday was my nephew’s last tee ball game of his first season playing.  My brother coached.  My sister-in-law, my other brother, my niece and I all enjoyed a nice family day. 

My niece is three and a half.  She asked me if I have a father.  Simple sweetness…

If I’ve learned anything in watching my comfort blankets fray and fade over the years, it is that we can’t count on much to remain.  No matter how unlikely it was that that oil rig would blow…No matter how unlikely it was that Tiger Woods was stealing adult moments in the backs of car seats in church parking lots….

Life is like Michigan weather.  If you don’t like what it looks like, just wait a  few minutes…

Which brings me back to last Saturday and watching my brother coaching his son.   Even with my lousy memory, I can still toddle back in my mind to recall my brothers themselves in impossibly-small tee shirts knocking the bloody hell out of that rubber tee.   Grass stains and painful raspberries from slides on the rock-hard ball diamonds that filled our childhoods with the innocent cheers of Americana.  The faint jingle jingle of the ice cream truck on a warm June evening.  Parents in lawn chairs and kids running through the sprinklers.  Sharpening popsicle sticks on the sidewalk (kids nowadays can sharpen popsicle sticks on their Game Boys or run through Wii sprinklers).  😉

How quickly the pictures change.   From black and white and boxes of slides to digital cameras and full color and sound videos.  Our fathers move along in them.  From looking like our brothers and our sons to a little wider, maybe.  A little less hair, perhaps.  A few wrinkles around the edges.  Sprinkles of gray near the temples.   And yes, in some cases, an utter loss of fashion sense.  Laughing here.

Seems too quickly we are digging deep into our heart full of memories to just once more hear the sound of their voice.  Their laughter. 

What I’d give to hear my Dad ask me once more if I’ve checked the oil in my car lately.

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday and I will wear like light summer blankets the memories of sitting on my Dad’s lap wearing my, “Daddy’s little girl” pajamas.  Of him holding me up above the huge counter to watch the pizza man make pizza and singing  the Pepsi Cola theme song from the Sixties (I can’t remember how to get home sometimes from my own subdivision but I could sing you the Pepsi Cola theme song from the Sixties).

My hope this weekend is that we all just simply take a look around at all the long-constants that have changed lately.  Everything we counted on and imagined would stay the same.  Maybe even took for granted and stopped appreciating.

Our now entices, pokes and implores us not to dare believe we hold an endless number of Father’s Days with our Dads.   I envy the sweet opportunity for you to hold the big warm hands now weathered with more life piled behind than in front.  Oh, to get to shop for a card!   To get to pick out yet another tie or golf shirt.  To wrap up another box of golf balls…

I so envy you all. 

Happy Father’s Day to my brother, especially.  Seeing you, Craig, in a role that delivers me back so sweetly, absolutely warms my heart.  I’m sure Dad is smiling on you…

And to all of you fathers who find what it takes to express your love, to voice your care, to share your knowing, to make the time, to prioritize positive examples,  to stand up, to show up, to embrace the responsibilities, to roll around in the grass, to carve the pumpkins, to teach your sons and daughters how to throw curveballs, to read them to sleep, to comfort them during thunderstorms, to show them how to bait a hook, to make them feel like your special little girls even when they are grown women, to teach them how to parallel park and take them to their first ball game…

And yes, for those of you who hold them up so they can watch the man in the apron behind the counter toss the pizza dough…

Thank God for you. 

There will always be fathers but there won’t always be Dads.  For those who understand that, I sit with you at the end of the bench, knowing my name won’t be called again.  But for those of you still in the game-PLAY!  Play hard!  Play the heck out of the time you have. 

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Happy Father’s Day.

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