He’d come back just in time to help us move. “Do I have to go? What if the kids make fun of me?” It wasn’t just a new school; it was an entirely new state. I had braces and glasses and had just made friends at my previous school to survive the bullying. We had moved several times before that. It was the life of an Army brat I suppose.
He hugged me that day and kissed me on the forehead before he looked me deep in my young eyes and said “Those braces are temporary, those glasses will someday become contacts, but your heart will always be beautiful. Those who will mock you have black, slimy hearts. They will always be ugly.” It was the perfect thing to say.
The kids did make fun of me but we were only there for less than a year before we moved again. Eventually the braces did come off and the glasses did become contacts. The bullying became less frequent. I made a couple friends here and there but they were only temporary.
He’d missed my graduation but came in the summer before I left home. “What if I don’t make it?” All I had ever known was the unstable uplifting of the school life. My mother was excited that I’d finally be able to make friends and not worry about moving. I was going to school out of state and I was scared to be completely on my own without my mom or dad there to catch me.
He hugged me and kissed me on the forehead before he looked me deep in my eyes. “You are a strong and intelligent woman. You have the blood of the courageous coursing through your veins, but if you don’t make it, there is more than just one way to the top.” He was right.
I didn’t finish school. I guess leaving school had become somewhat of a habit of mine. I found a hobby in writing. I started blogging about the life of an Army brat. It really took off and I started making money off of it. Now I own my own business and have many more large projects coming.
He wouldn’t be able to make it to my wedding day but I called him the morning of. “What if we don’t work out? Tell me I’m not making a mistake.” This was the second greatest man of my life and I hadn’t had my doubts before but how was it supposed to be the best day of my life without my number one man?
He whispered softly on the phone. “You’re mother and I had our tough times, she almost left me, you know. Life without me was too hard on her, I knew she cried herself to sleep at night but we both knew we’d rather have that time apart than never be with each other ever again. Love is sacrifice, no matter how painful.” As always, he was right.
I gave birth to three beautiful children in the years after our marriage. My husband stood behind me to lift me up when I fell down and I always encouraged him to achieve his goals. Life was perfect and it was finally stable. The moving was over.
He left the military eventually and grew grey with my mother. “Where is he? Don’t tell me I’m too late.” I had cried to the nurse when I finally arrived at the hospital alone in the middle of the night. She pointed me to the room my father was in. My mother was in his room, holding his hand. She left to give me time with him.
He smiled at me as I sat down beside his bed. His weak hand brushed the side of my cheek. “I’m sorry I was never around for you when you needed me most. Your mother did a wonderful job raising you. I’m so proud of you.” He was wrong the day he died.
We buried him under a tree we decorated with wind chimes and ribbons. We put a cross at his head adorned in flowers and an American flag. The funeral was small and at the end of it I put “#1 Dad” at the top of his cross. My mother may have raised me but my father inspired me to be strong and gave me the strength to continue on.