Thursday, June 25, 2015


I have one explicitly clear memory of my Daddy - there are other memories shrouded in a fog, but they float around, never leaving me with any sense of comfort/knowledge/understanding. In reading his journals and hearing others describe the man that he was, I consider myself blessed, indeed, to be his daughter, to know that he was our father and that his love for us knew no bounds. My one cherished memory is one of intense happiness and belonging.

EOW - his end of watch, as an officer, as a father, as a husband came unexpectedly, harshly, leaving a cold chasm where we knew the warmth of his beating heart and his love to be. There are two dark, terrifying memories I have never shaken from that time - wandering through the endless flower bouquets littering my Grandma's backyard, amidst unfamiliar (though caring, I'm sure) faces, and then nightly lying in my bed, awake, expectantly awaiting his arrival home. 

BOW - beginning of watch, as a father, as a husband, as a man taking on three broken hearts and rescuing them from their wandering loneliness. I did not, at first, welcome this comfort/provision/care/love - I was confident that my Daddy was coming home and I knew my loyalty to him would matter, deeply. The truth eventually has a way of finding each of us, and it was crushing. But this man, this human heart, in all it's frailty, in all it's naivety about the "fixability" of this small family, loved faithfully/relentlessly and he has shown me the heart of a father. I don't think my appreciation for this life (his life) lived in service (to us, his family, and to so many others) was felt or expressed until I was teetering on the edge of independence, finding my own feet in the world. In that moment, I remember gratitude and disbelief overwhelming me. 

The end of one watch opened the doorway to begin the next watch. And the one who filled those (mighty big - both literally and figuratively) shoes has proven himself more than worthy of the task, both as a father and a grandfather. I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Beautiful and un-complicated

We've all heard "life is beautiful and complicated". When I watch my Paugie boy, life seems profoundly beautiful and un-complicated. He concretely possesses a capacity to love those around him, to delight in the simple things in life (a moment in someone's lap, his first view of a snow-capped mountain, a cuddly blanket, a fresh blackberry off the vine, the smell of honeysuckle on the humid air) and to bring joy and companionship to those he is with. 

He is always asking me how he can help, volunteering for every task I tackle. If his brothers are watching a movie, he is most often next to me, assisting with the project at hand. 

He loves his family fiercely, reminding us each day that we matter and that we are treasured. 

He can often be found walking hand-in-hand with those he loves. 

He is quick to remind me that life is too short not to stop and take time for each other. Basking in those moments brings renewed life. 

Paugie, your ability to see others, to love life, to feel things deeply, to share all of who you are so completely, to take nothing for granted, makes life seem so much less overwhelming and complicated. You are beautiful and uncomplicated. You are intelligent and kind. I love you more than words can say. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

High Country

Ankie Tae and I stole away for a mini-vacation to Flagstaff with #2 and #4 McGary brothers. #1 and #3 brothers got some quality Daddy time, in Austin. We spent the week at Gumbum and Gumpai's new (to them) cabin, breathing in the cool, clear mountain air filled with the scent of ponderosa pines. We hiked many new (to us) and wonderful trails, giving Paugie a chance to really prove his stamina. I know my boys love the outdoors, but their deep appreciation of nature brings me endless delight. It was a week we did not want to end and the memories will be cherished ones. 

Photo Credit goes to Gumbum (

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Pause it

Kelton is laughing so hard he's having trouble catching his breath. Lochlan is running at warp speed around the kitchen and living room, patting Kelton as he passes by. Declan is melted into the hammock on the porch while Madigan swings it, at Tiger speed (i.e. fast). Sabina has wrapped her entire large body around my "free" foot, in a desperate search for a tummy rub. Valiant is patrolling the perimeter of the porch, mouthing off at the squirrel who taunts her from the tree above. It's just a moment in time. A picture that can't be caught on camera. A series of seconds that time will, no doubt, erase from my memory. I glimpse in this moment the wealth that I behold, treasuring it in my heart. Sometimes - so many times each day - I want to pause time, savor it indefinitely, and not let a minute escape. Yet, when I look into these faces, see the men that they are even now in their wee-hood, I relish the future and hunger to see them become who they are created to be.