Roles return

My adventure trip to Arizona and Utah is complete.  I am now home, working and navigating life.  The goal of the trip was to take a break from many life roles and connect more with myself.  Those goals were accomplished and exceeded.  Time was spent with friends from my past trips and new friends were made along the way that I hope to see again on future adventures.  My heart and soul soared throughout the many hiked and driven miles.

After landing and getting into my car at the airport, the roles that I made an effort to leave behind were like passengers patiently waiting in the car.  I settled into the driver’s seat and as much as I tried to kick out some of the passengers, they stayed.  My role as a daughter spoke up first and demanded attention as I drove to the assisted living facility that my dad is calling home since the day after I left on my trip.

Being an Occupational Therapist allows me to look at the evolution of life and independence in an objective manner.  I am trained to seek solutions to bring joy and adapted independence into the last chapters of life.  Yet this situation is very different; it is my Dad; not someone I just met.  I went right up to his dinner table and wrapped my arms around him.  His eyes light up with love while his smile touched my soul.  I shared with him my trip pictures.  Mom and Dad did two cross country road trips 20 years ago.  We have both done the Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park, and this trip I hiked it again.  We sat together laughing about the exhaustion, fear and exhilaration of that hike.

Today was a good day for Dad so I took advantage of our time together to share gratitude.  It seems that I have a “gift”.  I tend to talk about really deep things which result in crying and laughing.  This would be one of those times where my “gift” came to life.  We went to his room where many wonderful pictures were hanging on the walls. Reminiscing on the great family times was easy.  I took it one step further and said, “Thank you for being my dad and making so many parts of childhood wonderful.”  I reminded him of the days when Farah Faucet was popular and Dad tried his hand at hair dressing when I was about 7 years old.  He took the blow dryer in one hand and a spiral brush in the other; the result was spectacular.  We danced around while my feathered hair flowed in the wind.

Bed time rituals were always a delight with Dad.  He made a habit of bringing a piece of jewelry to my bedroom when he said goodnight.  I don’t remember reading many stories together with Dad, but what he did share was magical.  He’d tell me the story of each piece of jewelry he had made or purchased for Mom.  The details were spectacular.  I learned about precious stones and how much he loves Mom.  I will cherish those memories forever.

Having the opportunity to say thank you in such a vulnerable way honored the deep connection between a father and a daughter.  I am so glad to have gone right to him and shared that kind of love!

Kristin Springfield

Hikes with Angels
Loving daughter

Visit the Womanly Journey Facebook page to view trip pictures!