January brings with it so many memories for me. January 6th is my "other" birthday, the day my dad officially adopted me. After my mom and Jack were married, I was an Underwood. We usually say that Jack actually married me and my mom came along with the deal, there is even a picture with me standing in the middle at the ceremony. As a family we waited several years before making the adoption legal, my dad was too sensible about things, and wanted to make sure I understood the process. I remember having to tell the judge that it was ok with me for Jack to be my dad.
Now in January, before I get to celebrate on the 6th, I have to manage through the 4th, the day my dad passed away. The cancer, the pain and the medicines took him away from us before this day but this is the official day. I miss him more than I can write about. I regret all the things I didn't say and the missed opportunities. I miss the feeling that everything is going to be ok because my dad is here to fix it. And I hate more than anything that my babies don't get to know their Papa.
A year after my dad passed away I had a visit. The man that let me be adopted and gave me the biggest blessing of being Jack's daughter. There have been times when I have thought about him and what I would do or say. If anything I hope I learned from Jack how to be accepting of people, how to always have a hello and a smile for someone, and to believe that people are trying to make their own best decisions, rather I agree with them or not. My mixed emotions about all of this leads me in many directions, trying to do what is best for my family along with doing what gives me peace.
I know these days are so close together to remind me that you can not have joy without experiencing pain. With all of God's challenges for us, I know he has given me the tools to get through this, I just have to figure out how to use them.