We’ve all done something in our youth that might have wiped us off the face of the earth.
Or is that just me?
Only I wasn’t that young. I was in my 30s. It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it was. I worked as a copy editor at the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record. And a thunderstorm and high winds ripped through the downtown streets. Disarray reigned.
We parents know the drill: Every day is a circus. Every day is a carnival. Every day is a prison break wrapped in a mutiny dipped in dirty socks, cracker crumbs and lost homework.
Welcome to parenthood.
Everyone’s flavor is a little different, the smells wafting from the kitchen aren’t the same, and although the noise levels are probably pretty consistent across the board – with decibels that make a Concorde jet sound like a nose-hair trimmer – it’s not a life I’d ever, ever change.
That’s the day my dad died, in 2000. As any of you who have lost a parent know, those first milestones – Christmas, birthdays, Father’s Day – carry an unmistakable void. They came and went, and I wondered how dad must have felt on New Year’s Eve of the year before.
That day – early evening, as people finalized New Year’s Eve plans – doctors told dad he had leukemia.
He waited days to tell my sister and me. I lived in Tallahassee, Fla., eight hours of mostly of Georgia highway away from his brick house in Belmont, N.C. My numbness thawed when I told my friends at work that day, the tears rushing out before my words could.