Going through post drafts, I found this from almost two years ago. I’m not sure why I never posted it. Maybe it wasn’t “finished.” But things like this are never really “finished,” are they? So, here it is. Unedited.

You know how sometimes, you’ll be doing some normal part of your daily routine and something hits you, something you hadn’t really come to terms with, from way out in left field?

Yeah, that.

This morning, I was driving to work. No big deal. Just driving along the same windy road, blowing through the same stop sign, when BAM! It hit me. Right in the fucking face.

I’m getting married in a couple weeks. And by Christmas, I’ll be a mother. We will be our own family.

And my dad isn’t here to experience any of that with me.

My dad will never meet his grandchild(ren). He won’t give me away at my wedding and there will be no father-daughter dance at the reception. There was never any intimidation from my dad when P asked for my family’s blessing to marry me. (My mom did that instead. With constant reminders that she will “kick his ass” if needed. Gotta love that woman.) My father won’t be in the waiting room at the hospital when this child is born. This child, due the day after my father’s birthday, will never know that man I called “Dad.” My kids will never hear the scary stories about the “maul cat” while we’re camping on the Tucannon. I’ll never be able to talk him in to dressing up as Santa at Christmas for my kids. He won’t get to teach them how to build forts in the living room, or how to properly shoot a rubberband during their rubberband wars. He’ll never get to show them

Of course, I’ve known all of this. Since that day I lost my dad almost nine years ago, I’ve known this. But now it’s just so much more real because these things are actually HAPPENING now, whereas before, these things were just things that would probably happen at some point in my life.

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But now they’re happening, and now it’s all sinking in. It’s almost like I’m dealing with his death all over again.

I’ve opted to walk down the aisle by myself in the wedding. The way I see it, having any other man give me away is a slap in the face to my dad. I won’t do it. There will be an empty seat at the ceremony for him, and I will be decorating a table, with a photo of him, and his belt buckle and hat, at the reception. So he’ll be there, with me, as much as possible.

Even more than he already is.

Writing my heart out

I’ve learned that I only want to be where I’m wanted. Your real friends will miss you when you’re not there.

Related, I’ve learned that cliques don’t cease to exist once you leave high school… or college.

I’ve learned that the little moments are the ones that matter.

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I’ve learned that a little dirt never hurt anybody.

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I’ve learned that family should always, always, always come first.

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I’ve learned that people’s attitudes and behavior can drastically change once you stop giving them what they want.

I’ve learned that there is nothing more important that the health, safety and well-being of my child. NOTHING.

I’ve learned that while I am so thankful for family to watch him while my husband and I are at work, I should be the one with E every day, sharing experiences like this with him…

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And this…

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I’ve learned that two and three may only be one apart… but when you’re talking about dogs, there is a world of difference.

I’ve learned that following your gut is not always the best advice.

I’ve learned that life is too short to be unhappy.

What have you learned?

Every picture included in this post was taken by my mother-in-law.

E Writing my heart out