15 Dec My Dad’s Smile
Today is my dad’s birthday. So I’m taking this time to share with all of you how much of an absolutely amazing man he was on this earth and continues to be in spirit.
On that hot summer day when we buried my dad, I spoke during his Celebration of Life service. I remember waking up that morning, knowing that I was going to write down the words I would say to all those who would be gathering at the service…all those who loved him. I had waited until that morning to do it because I wanted my words to be as true to my feelings as they could be…at that very moment. These were my words. They continue to be the truest expression of how I feel about my dad.
I miss my dad. I truly do. My mom misses him. My brother misses him. We all miss him. I think what I miss most is seeing his smile each morning. He had such an awesome smile. It was the kind of smile that could bring me joy if I ever felt sad. It could give me a zap of energy if I ever felt a little sluggish. His smile could give me courage if I ever felt scared or nervous.
That’s what his smile could do. That’s what my dad could do.
My dad’s smile could turn a timid, unsure child into a motivated achiever, so quickly and so amazingly. It seemed to be a superpower…just like a X-Man or an Avenger.
Picture this. Me. I’m 11 years old. I’m flipping through one of mom’s cookbooks…Better Homes and Gardens. I see this gorgeous full-color picture of an elegantly frosted, lusciously moist-looking chocolate cake. “I’ve got to make that.”
I dash about the kitchen, excitedly gathering up each of the ingredients. I climb up on the counter to grab the mixing bowl from top shelf. And into the bowl I pour 2 cups of flour, ¾ cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ¾ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, AND, 2 cups of sugar. Everything goes into the bowl.
I grab a big spoon to start mixing it all together, and as I glance over at the counter I notice the sugar and salt containers sitting there. But they don’t seem to be in the right place. That’s not where I left the sugar container after I scooped up the 2 cups I needed.
“Hmmm…did I? No, I didn’t. But did I? Oh fudge it. I think I did. I switched the sugar and salt. Well let me taste…maybe I didn’t.”
So I take just a pinch of the mound of what should be sugar in the mixing bowl, and I tap a bit on my tongue. Yuck. It’s salt.
Well, now what? “OK. I can save this. I’ll just scoop out as much of this salt as I can. It’s still in one mound in the mixing bowl, I can kinda sorta tell it apart from the other ingredients.
“OK…I think that’s as much of it as I can get out.
“And now, I’ll put in 2 REAL cups of sugar…but I better add some extra sugar. I probably didn’t get out all the salt, so it will balance out better if I add extra sugar.”
After mixing it all up, I beat in the eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla. Pour the batter in the cake pan, place it in the oven, and wait.
Ooo…the scent of freshly baked chocolate cake wafts through the air luring my dad’s nose into the kitchen. I proudly slice him a piece of cake and excitedly watch him take a bite. “Do you like it? Dad? Do you like it? Tell me, Dad. How does it taste? Do you like it?”
I see him heartily chewing away. His eyes get big as his head nods. “It’s good. Very good.” Meanwhile my mom and brother are also lured into the kitchen by the smell of chocolate. They, too, each grab a slice of cake and taste it. Their faces say it all. Yuck. They didn’t like it. “it’s salty,” my mom explains.
I feel my heart sinking…but my dad. It’s OK. My dad thinks it’s good. “You like it, right, Dad? You want another piece?” My dad then smiles. That wonderfully reassuring smile. He answers, “Yes, another piece.”
Confidence fills up in my chest. And joyful glee bursts through my face. I serve him up another slice of cake. And as he begins eating, I grab a piece of cake for myself. I take a big bite and… YUCK. It’s so salty! As I manage to grudgingly swallow that nasty bite of salty cake. I look up and watch my dad finish every last bit of that second slice of cake.
And then a smile comes across my face. Even in my baking defeat, I’m smiling. I feel loved. My dad loves me. He doesn’t want me to be disappointed. He ate every crumb of his salty chocolate cake. Not just 1, but 2 slices of salty chocolate cake…and he’s smiling with complete and supportive love.
That smile made me want to do better. That smile made me want to make him proud. That smile gave me the confidence to try and try again. To be very diligent about every project I would undertake in the future. To become the strong and confidant woman I am today.
That’s what his smile could do. That’s what my dad could do.
My father was truly an incredible human being. And we are all blessed to have known him. To have experienced his smile. That amazing smile.
My dad was the hardest worker I’ve ever known. After coming to America, he worked 2 jobs, because he wanted to give his family…Mom, Randy, and I…the very best life possible. Even after his stroke, he continued to work hard to recover. Always willing to give it his best during physical therapy sessions…no matter how he was feeling that day.
At home, he was always eager to do his exercises with me. Even when I knew he was feeling sleepy, he would still promise me that he’d do them later that day, and he did. He kept that promise.
He was a very hard worker. And now, I take comfort that he can rest. His body can rest. But I know that his work is not done. His spirit is still working. Working hard to motivate me. Working hard to inspire me. To inspire us all.
You see, in my final words to my father, I told him that we still had work to do. And I knew he’d be up for it. I promised him that I was going to share his story. How hard he worked to fight against the liver disease that eventually took him from this physical life. How none of us can ever know what lies ahead for us in this life, so we must do what we can to take good care of ourselves. Take good care of the bodies that God has given us. So that we have the strength and energy to spread His message of faith, hope, and love.
I promised my dad, that together we would change so many peoples’ lives. That it was going to be because of him that a lot of good is going to happen in this world.
Help me keep that promise. Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself. Then be good to others. Take care of others.
That’s what my dad’s smile can do. That’s what my dad can do.
We love you so very much, Dad.
Disclaimer: This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. Information provided on this web site is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is not intended to replace a complete consultation with a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Dr. Venus Ramos is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this web site.
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