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A New Birthday Wish- just no candles.

I look to my left as Dick, and I drive downtown for my Birthday Lunch. I see a man get out of a car in the valet line at a hotel. He moved like someone I used to know, and I thought it was him for a split second. But it wasn't, and the overwhelming feeling of missing my Dad threw me into a head spin, and I sat there quietly before saying to myself- ugh, I really miss my Dad.

For a split second, I thought I saw a ghost, a ghost from my past. A ghost that will haunt me every day for the rest of my life, But haunted in the most extraordinary way possible yet the saddest way. Grief is no other than a mind fuck- it's the crazy ex that won’t stop stalking you, it's the pain that lingers every day, with no light at the end of the tunnel, no words to soothe the soul. Just memories, memories that can be painful at times.

Part of me, the anxious side of me, the insecure child inside of me- thinks that I am talking and writing about my dad too much- and maybe if I am thinking this, others are as well...... or maybe it is the inner voice in my head that the negative nancy that makes me feel down and not like myself. Still, the other part of me says, who cares? No one is reading these anyway.

Yesterday started like any other day- I woke up, got the kids ready for school, and drove them to school- since it was my birthday, my husband took off work to spend with me, and it was the first day we had spent kid free since the summer, and it was long long overdue. It was excellent: Tractor Supply, Ulta, Downtown, and Lunch at the Falls.

My husband got me some Holland Cooper apparel, beautiful sunglasses, a hoodie, and a shirt- You must check out Holland Cooper. You need to visit their website!

I tried not to allow the fact that I didn't get the text message I did every year for the past 20 years I’ve had a phone or the phone call/Facetime I have gotten for the last decade.

"Happy birthday, Jess," and before I met my husband, "Happy birthday, Jess, what would you and the girls like for your birthday dinner- Pizza?"

Last year, this time, I was with him, walking through DC, parallel parking in DC like a PRO. It was the last time I would spend with my Dad. It was the LAST Birthday I would spend with him, the last hug I would get from him as well. It was the last time my girls would also be able to see their Lolo.

Everything happens for a reason. I was supposed to go to my friend’s wedding, but at the last minute, we decided to stay at my parent’s house and spend my birthday with my dad.

We walked around DC, the National History Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. It’s like this was planned by something more significant than all of us. We laughed, learned, we smiled, and we spent time together like we did when I was a kid, like my girls did with my dad over the decade they spent summers with him. My dad asked me what I wanted from the Smithsonian as a Birthday present, and there was nothing I could see that I wanted. And now I wish I had taken him up on the offer and had one last present from my father. :0

After going to the Smithsonians’, we went to PF Changes at the Tyson Galleria; I used to love PF Changs. I wanted to buy a Louis Vuitton, but my dad thought I was crazy- and the line there was crazy, so we never went-

My mom didn’t show up until after we sat down; she didn’t even come with us downtown. It felt like she came in needing the attention and making things about her. My dad got annoyed, and my mom was walking up to the waiters while they were at other tables. It was my last lunch with my father, the last meal he would pay for, and that I would enjoy with him. Not that those things matter, but had I known I would have let my mother be my mother.

The last weekend, the last three days I spent with my father, was filled with music in the loft, joking about if he passed who would get his porche- (I always said me), watching the Redskins, and just being in his presence, watching my kids watch Wizard of Oz with their Lolo, and though my parent's house can be tense at times, it was always HOME, he was Home.

I will forever remember my 37th birthday- remember the multiple hugs my father gave me and how weird it was to get multiple before we left. It's like he knew something was off that day. He knew this may be the last time he would see us.

The moral of the story was that this was a gift given to me by the universe, by a power greater than myself. A gift that not many others were able to get. I know he looked down on me yesterday, smiling and hugging me again, reminding me to breathe and to TAKE IT EASY!

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