Tuesday, February 6, 2007

No Time Like the Present

My husband's family has a few colorful figures that make appearances from time to time. Grumpy Gus. Forgetful Fred. Mr. Putoffsky.

Yesterday when I set up my blog on a complete whim, I recognized my own Mrs. Putoffsky. She'd been hanging around so long she'd taken up residency. It was time to enroll her in the witness protection program.

The timing for her swift exit is not very hard to guess. My father is currently suffering through the last stages of cancer. A year ago, he received his diagnosis. After a promising year of treatment, he began experiencing a great deal of back pain over the Christmas holiday. A few weeks after his 65th birthday, Dad got the news that his cancer had spread.

Everyone's heard the phrase 'live each day as if it's your last.' Sometimes we feel a spurt of urgency about certain life milestones, like a 30th or 40th birthday. We might live through a close call. We might come within a hair's breadth of being hit by a car. If you're tossed out of the regular current of life and thrown gasping onto the bank, it's often hard to see your temporary vantage point for what it is. But it's a gift.

There's so much to fill up the hours of our lives. Twenty-four hours is never enough time to do everything. Most people I know have become quite accomplished at jamming an extra four or five hours into their days, somehow. Even with all the juggling and jackhammering, there's often a few cherished goals and desires permanently circling, waiting for the okay to land. I just got my clearance from the tower for my blog.

I hadn't expected to get it from Dad, who's computer phobic. But that's the absolute beauty of a gift like that. Who else would I get it from? His was the hand that let go of my bike that day when the training wheels were gone and I thought he was still running behind me. I stopped the bike and saw him halfway down the block, smiling and waving.

His was the voice that calmly talked me through learning to drive. He was the one to drive me out to my grown-up life in Toronto, and he was the one who had to drive back home, leaving his daughter to find her own way. He drove down that road with one hand out the window so I could see him till he was out of sight.

Dad likes to make sure I'm safely launched and on my way. His recent detour onto his unexpected final journey gave me the push I needed to climb aboard the blog I've been yearning to sail. Thanks again, Dad. I'll always see your hand waving to me out that window.


Kelly Boyce said...

That made me all teary-eyed. I want to go call my Dad now. I really admire how you're dealing with this Julia, it's one of the toughest things I think we ever have to face and remembering the good reminds us of the positives that we get to keep balanced against what we lose.

Holly said...


I had no idea...your father is very lucky to have a wonderful daughter like yourself...my heart and thoughts go out to you and your family...may your fathers last journey be the finest....god bless

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about your father, Julia. I've gone through this with both of my parents and it is rough.

I admire your spirit, and I'm glad you have such wonderful memories to draw upon. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.