I was around ten when this picture was taken of me and my Diddy at the beach one summer while on our family vacation. It's one of my favorite pictures ever and have it framed, hanging on the wall in my kitchen. I'm not sure why my bathing suit is tied all the way over to my left side but still remember that suit as well as those plaid trunks my Diddy wore for about twenty years.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. Asked him to go out and swim with me in the ocean, he agreed and hand in hand we walked toward the shore line. He went out beyond the breakers and just as he always did, swam laps back and forth in the Gulf for a bit. Then also did what he would every time after that, float on his back in the salty buoyant water with both arms out to his sides.
All this was done while my Momma sat in her chair under the four post wooden sun shelter. She never learned how to swim and never got wet above her ankles. She'd carry a wet washcloth to the beach with her in a little plastic baggie to cool herself off with and stayed sand side but always watching us out in the Gulf.
I grew up in the best family unit ever. I can't remember my parents ever having one fight or really even an argument. My Momma died when I was just seventeen. I remember Diddy saying before her funeral that he still loved her as much as he did when they married in the early fifties.
Not many people are lucky enough to have two parents raise them in the utopia of a happy, loving home environment. I was one of the lucky ones, that's for sure.
We were also blessed enough to have Diddy around until he turned seventy seven. He was healthy as an ox (as we say in the south) and still an avid tennis player. One of his frequent tennis partners was even eighty one.
They just don't build 'em like they used to.
Diddy contracted West Nile Virus in 2002 and died in ten days.
Looking back, I think it was meant to be.
God took him quickly because who could ever want this wonderful man to suffer for years from dementia, cancer or any other lingering illness?
Certainly not me.
My husband and I have been together almost thirty years. The first twenty five were a piece of cake. The next five almost took the cake.
But we survived.
Nobody ever said it would be easy, in fact never heard the word "easy" come out of the minister's mouth when marrying us.
So I had a great father growing up.
Then I married man who is a great father.
The past five years have been tumultuous at best, but if you never have bad times how will you know when you have good times?
And then just like (not really) that... it's all coming together again after two years of living apart.
Tim has a great new job and has moved up faster than I've ever seen him walk. I also fortunately got a great job as well to help get us through his living a thousand miles away.
Here's one incredible thing I've learned over the past half decade.
If not having money is the worst thing that ever happens to you, you're pretty lucky...especially when you have sibs like I do.
Raised by the best, supported by the rest.
As my tenure at the world's busiest airport comes to a close decided to pay it forward once again. Massey and I went to the Sock Shoppe yesterday and bought all the dads we work with three pair of cool looking socks. Put them all in gifts bags and gave them out at work. The hugs I got from each of my co workers absolutely and hands down made my day.
Life is all about Karma. What you put in you get out. What goes around will come around.
Til next time...COTTON