It's no secret I've been meditating on turning 40 these past few weeks. Who knows how much more juice I have in me but I like to think I've got at least half a tank. My dad made it to 76, so his forty was a fairly good mid-mark. I wasn't even born yet in his world. He turned 42 a little over an hour after I was born. This birthday, I wanted to find an image of him at 40 but I couldn't find a photo mark from 1975. There is a great one of him at 38 rocking' a mustache at an All Souls event. Still, I found these two shots which I fell in love with immediately and felt kin to given my current daily life.
There are so many things about the first image I love: the horizontal camera, his never changing physique, the metal thermos of water and Deb's reflection in it (as I'm sure she's the one taking this photo). Dad taking a photo and one being taken of him in that mustard yellow top and this white pants. Though it's hard to tell, I'm guessing my mom is pregnant and I can't say I've seen many photos of her pregnant. It's ironic to me that their up in the mountains "hiking". I have never known either of my parents this way, though I've always wished they were more like this.
I often ache for conversations I wish I could have had with my dad about parenting. In looking through old photos I constantly feel a sense of longing for how much love he gave us all. Not perfection, just presence and affection. I like seeing this guy in his 40s with young kids, schlepping through the days of breakdowns and bottles and carrying toddlers. That's where I'm at and since he's always in my heart, I feel he's here too. I like to think he understands every parenting failure and the small wins. I hope somehow he can sense the sheer joy I have in each of miss M's freckles (since every new one of mine was an insult to me that he always declared he loved). There are moments with miss A that I know my dad had with me. With both my kids I can see what my dad saw when he looked at us. I take comfort in the fact that he wasn't perfect either and I still loved him madly. I anchor to the idea that if my kids can have that same sense with me, I will have succeeded. Happy Birthday RAC! Cheers to discoveries left to come that help me channel you.