For some reason, my dad had weighed heavy on my mind lately. He had his issues, and growing up we butted heads regularly due to our similar personalities.
I’m missing him today.
Maybe because my daughter has just married, and I know he’d be proud of her and all of her accomplishments. Then that got me wondering, if he’d be proud of me too? My life hasn’t gone exactly in the traditional route, one that he’d approve.
A little back story of Leonard C. Jupe. He grew up in the Axtell, Texas area – a child of farmers. He later joined the Navy, after he returned, he married mom, had me, graduated Baylor University in accounting. I remember him as a hard worker, loved to garden, and he had a silly sense of humor – only he chuckled at his so called “funny” comments. Oh, well, my mother always laughed too.
I was also an only child. Growing up he played games with me, ran races, and my roller coaster riding partner. He treated me as a princess and expected everyone else to do so also which caused problems during the dating years, seeing as any boy who came to take me anywhere must come to the door for a five-minute heart to heart before allowed to leave with me. So embarrassing.
The hardest time for him I think, was giving me away in marriage. He flubbed the line “her mother and I” when the preacher asked who gives this woman, and after I moved with my husband, my mom later told me he stood at the doorway of my bedroom for a long time with tears in his eyes.
Years past, he enjoyed being with his grandchildren, but his health steadily declined and we suffered many scares. I remember the last time I visited with him, a Sunday, after a stint of being in intensive care for ten days. I no longer lived in the area and had made a trip to the hospital. He looked healthy and I thought his road to recovery would be successful. At the end of the visit, I kissed him on the cheek and told him I’d see him next week. He replied as his stare bore into me, “If I’m here.”
I recall my entire body stiffen as I tried to ignore his implication, putting it off as dad being dad. But he was telling me he’d be leaving, and sure enough, he didn’t live to the next Sunday.
A part of me was glad he hadn’t hung around to watch his only daughters’ life detonate. A life I hung onto, because I feared of disappointing my deceased father. Trying to keep my conventional lifestyle he’d been so delighted with, was like keeping lava in an erupting volcano. And the fallout was massive.
Somehow after all the chaos, and years of personal growth, I emerged into a better version of me. Oh there are still struggles, many I’ve yet to figure out, but I’ve done things he’d be pleased with. I finished raising my two kids, alone. I went to and graduated college later in life, and realized my dream in becoming an author, getting my first book published. My second will be coming out soon and I’ve completed a third, and am about to turn it into my editor.
Not the life he’d of envisioned for his baby girl, but I am happy, and hopefully he’s smiling down on me somewhere, satisfied that I’m content. I hope he’s proud of the woman I’ve grown into.
Until we meet again, Daddy, I’ll keep plugging away. After all, I am your daughter.