by gillian claire: here's to the lilacs.

SOCIAL MEDIA

5.17.2016

here's to the lilacs.

dad'sbirthday_by_gillian_claire

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     The early flowers of spring bring me back something fierce to my childhood. My middle sister, Hillary, and I were born exactly a week (and almost 5 years) apart. Her birthday is April 28th and mine is May 5th. Then there is Mom's birthday on May 14th and my Dad's follows hers on May 17th. 
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     These weeks bring back strong memories of lilacs and joint sister birthday celebrations in the 90's on Broad Blvd. All the chairs pulled into the living room and Mom and Dad taking pictures of sisters smiling with their new huffy bikes. Homemade pinatas (seriously my mom was the Martha Stewart birthday queen) and birthday games in the yard. Running back and forth over the neighbor's cracked blacktop driveway. A couple weeks later Dad would make strawberry dessert cups for Mom and Mom would bake a chocolate on chocolate cake decorated with Hershey kisses for dad. There were always, always photos, blowing out the candles at the dining room cast iron table. Perfectly simple, wonderful celebrations with balloons taped to the corner cabinets and all. 
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Years later our littlest and last sister would join the family on March 17th, a little earlier in the season but capping our 2 full months of celebrations as a family. When Aaron and I married, it was March 18th, and when my Dad passed away, 2 years ago, he left on the 27th of April. One night before Hillary's birthday and 8 days before I turned 28. Squeezed in between all our springtime family celebrations; tulips in full bloom outside of his hospital room. Fitting I'd say. 
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     Now years later, things have certainly changed. I'm walking in the warm spring evenings in Colorado now with two little kids of my own and we always go down the alley with the lilac bushes. The smell takes me back, like a bizarre time machine of sorts, to these exact same weeks all those years ago... when our very own overgrown lilac bush was in full bloom in the backyard and mom would take clippings for our birthday table. 
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     So I sit here on my Dad's birthday eve; sifting through the ups and downs of the last two months. One day wishing Hillary a happy 25th birthday and the next morning waking up to remember the day that my dad passed away. This year was my 10th wedding anniversary and I turned 30!  Big things amidst years of uncertainty and trying to figure life out. Dad has been gone for two years now and it's a strange, hard point of grief for me. I live so far from family now, but there have been many calls and cards back and forth these last 2 months. Of course the cards for my sisters and mom are still on my counter because everyone knows I'm scattered as hell and presents from me are habitually late.
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     I'm missing my dad something fierce tonight. I'm thinking and knowing it's unfair that he's gone. I'm wishing I had things more "figured out" in life. Feeling frantic and like I've failed these mega-milestones that I hit this year. Marriage and relationships are totally beyond my expertise and turning 30 hardly has me at a point of great success and wise understanding. Dad's gone and honestly, I don't have it anymore figured out or emotionally processed than on the day he died. 
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     What I am learning is that nothing in life is ever really that perfect or very much figured out at all. Learning and believing this; being able to peel away false perception and tearing down walls of a perfect exterior, these are the things I've grasped and processed at the end of my 20's. If there is anything I've "figured out" so far it's to never, ever EVER think, not for a moment, that you've figured it all out. Not ever, because I promise you that you haven't. Definitely not at 18 or 24. Especially not at 30...
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     All those years ago, we didn't have it all figured out as a family either and things were certainly far from perfect behind the scenes. But you know, my parents tried the damn best that they could. And here we all are, still making it, still trying, still finding our paths, separately and together. Still confused but still calling each other on our birthdays. Still saying I love you. 
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     We're still celebrating these special days together. Of course now we have great sorrow and loss in the mix but it's also beautiful in its own very real way. It's what we have; it's our reality and it's ours to share and have together. 
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We know that no matter what happens, there will be always be birthday flowers blooming in spring and with them, the sweet, strong undeniable smell of memories and love. 
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Here's to never, ever giving up on that love. 
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Here's to the lilacs...
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*Happy Birthday Daddy*
   Forever, 
  Gigi
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hillary's graduation w/dad.

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2 comments :

  1. "What I am learning is that nothing in life is ever really that perfect or very much figured out at all."

    I love all of this. I love you. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dena. Your words always mean so much; love you too <3 <3

      Delete

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