Last time I said “I love you”

Gina, Dad, Dad, Chris

Gina, Dad, Dad, Chris

I leave in the morning for home. Home for me is in the Pacific Northwest for the time being. I remember the time when Phoenix was my home, for 16 years of my life I enjoyed, and even took for granted, the sunny mornings. I never considered the heat a problem here since air condition abounds, one is never far from relief in the summers. I’ve been asked the question often, why did I leave. My answer is a simple one to understand, I missed color. The northwest regions of our continent are full of color year round. It was that that I missed, and it is that that I return to now.

For nearly two weeks I’ve enjoyed the company of my kids and my best friend in Phoenix, Tom. Since it was a working trip for me I worked largely during the days and spent evenings split between Christopher and Gina. I took them out separately and together as a family, we laughed and joked, even wanted to cry a few times at some of life’s curious pitches that are hard to hit (notice the baseball metaphor?). From this trip I would conclude a few things, first I have fully engaged my daughter on a more adult level now. She’s making adult decisions and getting adult results… life is not one that can easily be saved by Dad anymore. Second, my son is as creative at this age (he’s 11) as I have been told I was. Although we didn’t get around to it Chris wanted to sit down one evening and do some origami, play some chess and watch a movie or two without scary things. I have two lovely children, growing up with more style and grace than I did, and that brings me great satisfaction. Third, I conclude life is short and not to be wasted in vain efforts or musings.

When you must learn something in life the universe has a way of hitting you over the head until you get it, but get it you will. My ‘instruction’ came last evening in a most unexpected way.

I picked Christopher up from soccer practice and took him home. His mother gave me some photos from his yearly school pictures. I gave my hugs and kisses to Chris, pictures in hand, and went off to a near by restaurant where Gina was impatiently waiting for me. We sat and talked about a number of things, small talk really. The meal was over, again, I gave my hugs and kisses to her and we left. Gina made it out of the parking lot about 30 seconds before me, as I pulled out I recall thinking I hope she doesn’t make the light so I can wave goodbye one more time.

The little lead footed debutante easily made the light and onto the freeway.

I was at the light, two cars back and considering calling her. The light changed, the two cars in front of me move off quickly, I was a bit slow on the gas this time. Just as I entered the intersection I could see a car up on the concrete median coming my way, sparks and car parts flying in every direction. The car came skidding over the end of the median and into the intersection I was entering. I wasnt’ going fast since the light had only changed moments earlier. I watched this vehicle, front wheels bent underneath it, bumper and molding flying off, narrowly miss a car in a turn lane from the same directions as he was going. Continuing, he missed my car, my brand new sports car with me in it, by inches as I passed by. The car came to rest in another concrete median part way through the intersection.

I stopped and went back to assist. As it turns out, no one was hurt, and in the end only two cars were lost, while the driver’s of two other cars (me and the guy driving the car in the turn lane) stood in near disbelief at the events.

I’m thankful that I said my “I love you’s” and lingered with the hugs. For those of you that know me, you know I am quick with such things and would rather err on the side of too much than not enough. I would be forever damaged to have not done so one last time if anything happened to take my loved ones from this life. Further, I want those I love to know that if I am the one to depart that they can always say they heard it from me and felt it from me one last time that they were loved. That is a good thing to model for my children.

In the end, I am fine and life will continue as planned. Sometimes life is only inches from dramatic changes. The scales tipped in my favor that night.

I have no problems in life.

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