Originally published in June 2013.
I’m having a baby.
In about two months, there will be a new light in my life. A new source of happiness. A new person to love. I should be really thrilled about everything that comes along with becoming a Mom for the first time … and yet there have been several moments recently where I’ve caught myself driving on the road with big alligator tears running down my cheeks. I can blame it on my pregnancy hormones, or on the stresses of teaching, but the reality eventually hits me.
I’m crying because I miss my Dad.
It’s been almost 10 years since my Dad passed away, and I thought I was at the point in my grief journey where I only cry on the “big days.” His birthday, Father’s Day, the anniversary of his death, any time a new bride dances with her father at a wedding, etc. Usually though, when I think of my dad I smile, roll my eyes, or laugh at a memory.
I think what’s bringing me to tears these days is that my Dad will never be “Grandpa” to my son. He’ll never take my son out for ice cream, tell him silly jokes, or write him a birthday check for $5 the way only a Grandpa can do. They’ll never have a picture taken together.
My dad will never teach my child all the things he taught me, like how to serve selflessly, or how to play a joke that is at no one’s expense but still makes everyone laugh. My son will never celebrate Christmas “Grandpa’s way” or hear my dad’s big, loud, explosive laughter.
It’s enough to almost make me wish my Dad never died all those years ago.
But then I think about the way his death ultimately propelled my life to where it is now. I think about the life that is growing inside of me, and wonder if things in my life would be the same if my Dad hadn’t gotten sick. I think about the phrase I learned while volunteering at Comfort Zone Camp, “Because of something bad, something good happened.”
When my Dad died, I changed my college major and eventually became a teacher. Financial freedom from his retirement policy allowed me the opportunity to travel and pursue teaching jobs in South Carolina. Teaching in Charleston introduced me to friends, led me to know the Lord, and positioned me to work down the hall from the man who would become my husband and the father of this little boy in my belly. All of these things were a part of a great plan, and that plan included losing my father.
I try to focus on that plan when I miss him. I also focus on my resolve to make my Dad a very real person to my son. We’ll watch home movies, tell unbelievable but true stories, play practical jokes, laugh loudly, and we’ll even celebrate Christmas “Grandpa’s way.”
My baby will know my Dad … because there’s so much of my dad within me.
Our thanks to guest author Rachel Infinger for sharing her story with us.