This picture was taken back in April of 2012 IF my memory serves me correctly; this was the first international trip, hopefully not the last, that my father and I had taken together. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a heart for travel/adventure and anyone who has been around me long enough also knows that my father was my barometer for such adventures due to the fact he spoke of his travels, when he was my age.
The moment we left town and began our trip, I told myself that I would be in charge and that my dad would have to get in line or be left behind, wait, my mom might read this at some point and that line might get me in some hot water; what I really meant to write was the moment we began our trip, I knew I would have to ensure my dad was comfortable every step of the way.
Our personalities are as different as the sun is from the moon but my rising and his falling or vice versa definitely kept us on our toes from the moment we exited our vehicle in California and entered the awaiting vehicle in Birmingham, UK.
Through the years, I've lost my smile, my excitement of being a child of someone so polished, so educated, someone looked at in such high regard, instead I've sat and stewed about the unknowns, the stories/experiences, the hurts and pains that he'll never share.
My 40th birthday is only a few months away and I find myself looking at the mirror, seeing my reflection, and thinking that I'm just coming into my own, finding my voice, and learning how to walk with an aspiration of running soon.
This picture was taken back in April of 2012 and on this day I tricked my father into sharing a smile with me, into being goofy with me for a moment; on this day I wasn't sad, I wasn't wondering what was on his mind, in his past, or awaiting him in the future, instead, I knew he was happy, I knew I was happy in this moment.
The same place we sat and smiled, we came back to a year and a half later and wept due to the passing of my uncle David. As I sat with a broken heart, a heart which still grieves, I observed my father's strength, I listened to his words as he described his love for my uncle, I saw then that my father had been through so much strife/struggle, he'd seen so much, heard so much, cried so many times before this, died so many times before this...
In April of 2012, my father and I shared a smile, a smile which was captured on camera and in my soul, not our first smile together and lord willing not our last captured moment.