So. Today is a weird day. Today, it will have been 10 years since my dad passed away. Ten years. That is a LONG time. It is such a bizarre concept, because in some ways it feels like it has been 10 years, but in other ways I remember the emotion like it was yesterday. It isn't a day I really like to dwell on, but it always looms before me and I am uber-aware that it somehow needs to be recognized. Three years ago I was 10324 months pregnant with Layla in the hottest week of the summer, and I went to my appointment on July 6 and actually broke down sobbing to my doctor that I couldn't have this baby on July 8. I just couldn't. (Thankfully I was induced later that day and had my little Layla on 7/7). I didn't want a joyous event to be in any way tainted by the actual worst day of my life so far. I always just feel strange all day, like I should be thinking more about him (I think about him everyday so that is just silly). It is just a weird day. 

I remember the actual day like it was in slow motion. I remember when I woke up. I remember what I was wearing. I remember being at a dive meet (coaching) and my mom called and all she said was, "Come home now." I turned to my parent rep with tears already flowing and said, "I have to go." She hugged me and I ran out of the pool. I remember the entire drive home. I'm not quite sure how I made it, because I was basically blind from crying. I remember rushing in the door being met with everyone standing around quietly sobbing. I remember Matt coming over later that night to be with our family (we have been family friends since I was five), having no idea that he would someday be my husband. I remember everything as if it were a movie.  

Now, I know that I am very fortunate because although I was only 19 when my dad died, I spent a lot more time with him than most. My dad was able to retire early from the World Bank (he worked there for like 10293808 years. I know you all love my exaggeration in numbers), so he was home with us since I was pretty young. As a little girl, everyone at ballet class always wondered how I would start to gather my things and then all of a sudden he would appear 30 seconds later... it was because I knew the sound of his cracking knees SO well coming down the hall. I can still hear it in my sleep. He would always have an orange or grape soda waiting for me in the back seat after he picked me up. He drove me to dive practice every day after high school. He taught me to drive. During those car rides every day, we wouldn't just sit in silence... We would actually talk. If there ever was the random silence, he would scare me to death by randomly breaking out into a "tribal song" (we are part Seminole Indian. Yet another fun fact). I was allowed to listen to my favorite radio station only until "Mambo #5" came on (which was every 12 seconds), then we had to switch to his favorite smooth jazz station. He drove me hours and hours to dive meets, whether it be Buffalo, NY (we went to Niagara Falls together), Kentucky, Florida, anywhere. He would have to sit super far away to watch all of my meets (his place at Robin Hood was the bench at the top of the hill) because he got stressed out and wouldn't want to get mad at the judges if I got crappy scores (obviously always deserved). He was SO proud when I got a diving scholarship to University of Richmond. He drove me to my recruiting trip and chatted excitedly the entire time despite the Friday evening traffic on 95. 

His jokes were both corny and witty (the more I think about it, the more I believe I just didn't understand a lot of them). He actually was the funniest person I have ever known. He bought himself Christmas presents, then would have my friends write the tag so that no one would recognize the handwriting. Everyone was shocked and confused when we would end up buying him the same thing... and this happened two years in a row. He wore track suits and Sperry's (if that doesn't spell awesome, I really don't know what does). He could fix or build anything (which is where I think I get my strange drive to install fans and do plumbing by myself). He loved his Miller Lite. He loved to cook and create random dishes. No matter where we went or what we did, question number one when we walked through the door was "What'd ya eat?" 

During my fall semester at Richmond was the whole sniper thing. I was home one weekend (this was before he got sick), and I left my house at around 7pm to do the two hour drive. The sniper shot someone at 7:15ish right off 95 South. I sat in traffic all night and didn't pull into the parking lot at my dorm until 5am. My dad stayed up and talked to me all night long so I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel. I definitely received the gene of the over-reacting gasp whenever something falls or tips over (which usually makes the situation far worse). If I ever had lip gloss on, it was known as "greasy chicken lips." 

I don't really like thinking about when he was sick. I came home every single weekend my second semester at Richmond, which is why I transferred to UMD. We didn't know how long he was going to live, and I knew I couldn't do another semester like I had just done. He hung on for eight weeks after they told us it could be any day. We had hospice come to the house, and my mom was by his side every other minute of the day. 

My biggest heartbreak over all of this is not how much I miss him (which is a ridiculous amount)... it is that my girls won't ever get the opportunity to know the most important man in my life for 19 short years. I would die to see his reaction to just one Summerism. I guarantee he would call her a 35 year old midget (what he called me). Layla would be "Squirt Jr" (I was the first Squirt. I did fit into the same bathing suit for seven years). And Olivia... he would be obsessed with how much she eats anything and everything, and how she will just dominate people if they get in her way. They would have absolutely adored him and would have had him wrapped around each of their little fingers. I don't think I talk about him enough to them, because it's hard... and I hate crying. I know I need to, because that is the only way that they will ever be able to understand how awesome he truly was. 

So. Today will always be a weird day. But life keeps going... and I know how fortunate I was to have had him at all.