Smudges

Several years ago, a friend's little girl died unexpectedly. Everyone frantically tried to fill in, babysitting the other kiddos, making meals, car duty, whatever we could. Right after, I remember telling her that I would go over and clean her house- everything had happened so quickly that cereal was still on the table. I vacuumed and mopped, folded laundry, dusted. I cleaned better than I ever cleaned my house in those days. I must have been trying to scrub away the heartbreak, erase the sadness. I spent hours cleaning, and I remember stopping cold at the smudges on the glass doors. Little toddler-height smears, where my friend's little girl had probably been watching dogs or siblings or her mom in the backyard.

I remember sitting down with the windex, knowing that I could not touch those smudges. Those little prints mattered, and they would not be wiped away by my hands.

I leave for Texas tomorrow, at the crack of dawn. I am going to say goodbye to my dad, to spend time with our family. I have been thinking of those smudges over the last few days. My dad had a lot of smudges. I spent my entire life trying to wipe them clean, as did everyone else who loved him.

Funny thing, those smudges. I no longer want to wipe them clean. They are part of it. His journey. My journey. I love him, good and bad, the clean and the dirt. Trying to erase the smears would be unfair, would change his story, and that is not mine to do. So, I am going home (ish) tomorrow, no Windex or Dr. Bronner's in hand. I am going to celebrate my father, the good memories and the smudges. All of it.

Peace and love and smeared patio glass, cupcakes. XOXO

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