The Things We Leave Behind: Father’s Day Musings

I suddenly realized this past week that Harmon looks like my father. My father in turn looks very very much like his own mother, my grandmother Mary Belle. So Harmon also looks like his great-grandmother who would have been 100 years old this July had she lived. While tending to the very basic needs of a six month old baby, your mind sometimes wanders in directions you wish it wouldn’t…you internally fuss at your lack of sleep, your lack of time to yourself, your lack of time in the bathroom, your lack of time to, well, you get the picture. But lately I also find myself looking at my son & seeing my father & then in turn thinking of my Grandmother Darling (Mary Belle, who called everyone “Darlin'” being from South Texas as she was, hence I thought her name was Grandma Darling as a child & the name stuck).  I’ve been wondering what my Grandma Darling and my father were up to when he was a wee boy like Harmon…did my grandmother talk to my dad as she changed his diaper?  Did she sing to him when she was trying to put him to sleep?  Did she bounce him on her knee to get him to laugh like I do with Harmon?  Did she look in his eyes & feel like she would walk off the face of the earth if she had to for her son?  In a way I feel like I’m mothering my father & not in a creepy way…in a good way.  I feel like I’m bringing my grandmother back to life & thinking about her a lot more than I ever would be right now if Harmon hadn’t been born looking so much like my wonderful dad…DNA is a tricky thing…it can give you a hereditary form of cancer, it can make you impatient and worrisome or reflective & watchful or boisterous & loud…& sometimes it can make you look so much like someone from your genetic line it’s a bit eerie…leaving you with tangible memories imprinted on your very body long after the donor is gone…we’re all connected in this big old world, whether we want to be or not, & those ghosts that visit us in our ears, noses, mouths, even jawlines serve as a good reminder of what we all leave behind when we’re gone…glimpses of a mother loving her son in a small blue house on a tree-lined Texas avenue…no one was there to write about it…but Harmon’s face reminds me all the same that we’re all someone’s baby, we all matter to someone…I’m so lucky to have my dad.  He’s a great guy.  A gentleman & a gentle man. He’s given me so much & I am forever grateful for that, Dad.

I love you, Daddy, & Happy Father’s Day!

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My father in 1944.

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Harmon aged six months, 2016.

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Harmon & my father, December 2015.

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Merritt, Coralee, Brian, Harmon, June & their Papa B–Father’s Day 2016.

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