Some guys are married, and some guys are married. I am the second kind.
Not only have I been fortunate to enjoy a great relationship with my spouse, I have four children that are such a big part of my life that in their absence, the void hits me pretty hard. Over the years, I thought of little else besides caring for my family. What I want out of life is exactly what I have.
My oldest daughter is returning today from a vacation in Curacao (pictured above). Although she hasn’t been gone that long, the last few weeks have been especially tough for me. She has not been just a daughter. She has been my daughter. From the day she was born, my life has been enhanced exponentially.
As a child, Meredith afforded me a pride I cannot explain. She played sports and was especially adept at running. In high school, she went to the state championship and won the mile in track and field, but sustained a couple of stress fractures in the process. Against my advice and over my objections, she ran the two-mile event an hour later – and won that as well.
At age 12, my daughter took a wilderness excursion with me to the Pacific Northwest, where we hiked 257 miles through the Cascades into Canada. We lived off the land for nearly a month, carrying only some powdered food and relying on our ability to catch fish in mountain lakes and streams. We saw elk, mule deer, marmots, black bears, and eagles in the wild. On one occasion, I awoke at dawn in a panic as Meredith was not in the tent. I found her about a hundred feet away, feeding wild apples to white-tailed deer that obviously had never seen humans before. I took one step forward and the deer scrambled. She told me she had been with them for about 20 minutes before one of them approached. I never had that experience, but I lived it through my daughter.
I always wanted my children to be independent, and well-traveled, and I am reaping what I have sewn. I failed to realize that sometimes as I grew older it would be painful to remain home awaiting their return. My place is with them, protecting them, but I realize that is impractical. Besides, Meredith spent time as a competitive martial artist and doesn't need me anymore.
Today, my daughter enjoys a happy marriage to a great guy, and they have two absolutely beautiful daughters of their own. She remains adventurous. Her family mountain bikes in remote places, and kayaks in areas of Florida and Georgia I wish they didn’t. I taught her to respect and appreciate Nature, and now I am paying for it.
Nevertheless, I continue to be thankful for being blessed with the most wonderful child a man could ever love, but I miss her when she is gone. How much she will never know.
. . .