The gap.

10 Jun

This next week I’ll be in a place that has always held so much magic and wonder for me. A place that holds so many of my most beautiful childhood memories that I couldn’t even begin to make a list of them. It’s a place that was made so special to me by my Dad, with all of the stories of the impact it had on his own childhood. He was always his most happy there and in turn it became my most happy place as well. I’m talking about our family ranch in Wyoming.

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I’ve always dreamed of passing on this same love, and the magic of it, onto my own children. I couldn’t wait to make the drive up the long winding path with such anticipation of new memories sure to bloom. I always pictured my Dad driving the car and my child and I in the backseat. This was supposed to be the summer this dream became reality but it’s all a little different now in the way it will transpire. It will now be the same car full of people that I imagined with the exception of my precious daddy.

I so was looking forward to watching my dad push Royal on the same swing that the 3 generations before him swung on. I pictured my Dad awaiting us in the morning, as he always did, on the sun-porch with his Bible, coffee, and the biggest welcoming smile you’d ever see. I couldn’t wait for my dad to take Royal for his first dune buggy ride, to see the look of pure joy on my son’s face as his papa would race around the winding roads and up the ranch hills. This place has always been about adventure for us and my dad was the one who always took the lead. I wanted my son to have the same memories of my dad here as I did. I will just have to fill him with the love of the ranch without the help of my dad. I want Royal to always know how much his Papa loved this place and how much he would have loved to have him there with him. I pray Royal treasures the ranch as much as every other child who grew up around it does.

The ranch holds so much history and love there. My parents met and got engaged on this ranch. I lived there as a tiny baby with them for a portion of my babyhood. I met some of my cousins for the first time there. I got married by the river there. I’ll never forget the memory of my dad ringing that ranch bell with tears streaming down his face to announce that I was about to come down the aisle. I also won’t forget those last few moments when I was still all his. He even drove past the aisle, while waving, with the biggest mischievous grin on his face pretending to run off with me. I won’t forget how he pulled on my arm and asked me to walk a little slower as I tried to race towards my groom. He wanted to soak it all in and boy am I thankful we did. When I found out I was pregnant the first time it happened at the ranch too. I’ll never forget finding my dad working in the yard and telling him I was going to be a mom. He gave me the biggest hug he’s ever given me. He was so thrilled to be becoming a grandpa. My dad loved me so big and I felt his love so strongly when we were there sharing in our favorite place together. It’s just not going to ever be the same without him.

I keep having to remind myself that I’m lucky to even have the memories of such a loving father. Some aren’t so lucky. The next few weeks will be entirely difficult as we go through Father’s Day, laying my Dad down in his final resting place, and having our 5 year wedding anniversary all within 4 days time, but I know that honoring him and sharing in the memories we all have with him on this ranch will be healing in it’s own unique way. He gets to live on in memories and I’m always going to fight to keep them as vivid as if they were presently happening. I love my dad. I miss him more than words can express, but I thank God every day that I can feel the gap left by this amazing man because it proves to me just how much I loved him and how much he loved me!

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