Monday, June 29, 2015

Still With Me

This morning on my drive to work, I blasted the country music. I was trying to wake myself up and start fresh after a lively (to put it mildly) weekend. The traffic was light and the Minneapolis skyline looked cool (sometimes, sadly, it doesn't look cool to me - like when landing at MSP after living in Chicago. Our skyline just doesn't have quite the same oomph. But, there's the lakes, oh da lakes...)

So. I drove to work this morning listening to country music, enjoying the turbo in my mom's 2001 VW Beetle (with +176,000 miles). I say "mom's car" because we originally bought it for her. I remember car shopping - I was in college at the time - and we felt like this Beetle was perfect, with slightly iridescent exterior and tan leather interior. I call it my mom's car, and yet it really became my dad's. He used to drive that car back and forth to his boat selling job in Woodbury. It was fun when he worked for Marine Max because I worked at Go East which was close to him. So we both had this 40-mile commute, but we could eat our bag lunches together if we wanted to.

I'm driving the car on 394 and the thought occurred to me: I am feeling closer to my dad than ever. I mean, closer to him than I did since July 2009. Even though my dad is gone, I've had these feelings lately, like for the past four months, that he is here.

This definitely happens to me when I listen to country music. Country music for my dad was project music. On weekends he would turn on the (ancient) boombox in our garage and play country music all day long. He and my mom had tons of projects - mowing the lawn, staining the deck, making project contraptions, and planting random plants. I think outdoor projects were his way to relax (although I am sure it sometimes stressed him out when he would start like five different projects and still have them all "in progress" come Sunday night).

One of my big projects since moving back to Minnesota has been learning how to mow the lawn. With a half acre of grass, this is no small task. Add oh, the pressure of manicured Minnetonka lawns; you can appreciate my stage fright. I mowed the lawn last week (which, dammit, means it already needs to be mowed again) and I listened to country music. As I was going back and forth, creating the long lines (slightly askew), I smiled to myself. 

If my dad truly is nearby, or watching me from some cloud in the sky (it's probably something more complicated beyond our comprehension), I think he is feeling proud of me.

Proud of me that I am making things work, despite gargantuan setbacks. Proud of me that I am taking good care of my mom. Proud of me that I am playing guitar again. Proud of me that I (finally) learned how to mow the lawn. I hope that others feel the same way I do - that even though their loved ones are gone they are still here, floating around, feeling peaceful and proud. 

Dad, I am glad you are still here. I am grateful that you are still with me. And I will definitely get around to getting an oil change for the Beetle this week. 


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