What was the greatest day of your life?
Camden, I know that you are too young to yet answer that question.
But I am not.
Why am I even trying to answer that question?
Well, it is on one of my lists of writing prompt questions. Many of these questions involve self-reflection. Searching for my inner Oprah.
I have a few of these types of questions that I have answered. This one I have been avoiding. It is not that I do not want to answer the question. I would really like to know what I actually think on this topic. It is just which day do I choose and why? It is the why that is getting me.
I decided recently that I would seriously try to answer that question. I figured what the hell, if I had to be off work for over three weeks I might as well give it a shot.
Let’s start by taking a closer look at the question. Camden you can move back from the computer screen. You do not need to look at the question that close.
The question itself reminds me of the quote attributed to Mark Twain.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you realized why you were born.”
Some say that Twain never said that. I do not care. Samuel was a Missouri boy so we will give him the credit.
Would it be easier to discover my greatest day if I realized why I was born?
But first I will have to ignore the obvious. My parent’s hormones got the best of them one night in the back seat of a Chevy. I need to look for a more philosophical reason for why I was born.
It has been written that humans are born to contribute. I think that I will try to run with that idea.
With that in mind do I pick out the greatest day that I might have contributed to society?
Would my greatest day encompass something I did? Money I donated?
Would I discover that my greatest day involved work, leisure, or philanthropy?
Am I over thinking this whole thing? Probably. That is what happens when I am off work for so long.
I started thinking about past work experiences that might fit the bill.
I wondered if it could be the day I stood in front of a man sitting on a couch while he held a gun to his head telling me that he was going to shoot himself.
No it was not that experience. That man did shoot himself. Therefore no one invited me to become a member of the crisis negotiation team.
The guy did live. So that was good. If you are wondering how he lived and what became of him, well that is an interesting story for another day.
Anyway that would not be my greatest day.
I thought of work-related rewards I had received. That review did not take awfully long. No, nothing there.
Moving to thoughts of my personal life. This must be where I will discover my greatest day.
Was it holding the door for the man at the post office who could not see over the top of his packages he was holding. No.
Was it saying hello and having a short conversation to a person I met on the street who really needed someone to notice that they actually existed. No.
Is it the money I have taken from each paycheck for the United Way. No, I am not Bill Gates so I do not see what I have donated really has anything to do with my greatest day.
Was it my wedding day. No, but I might be getting warm.
Was it the birth of my children. No, but almost.
After giving this much thought I have concluded that Erin’s wedding day was/is the greatest day of my life.
Now it has been brought to my attention that I might be trying to get myself out of the doghouse and back into her good graces since I recently had the littles dressed in Tiger clothing.
No that is not it. Maybe a little at first, but the more I thought about it I will stick with that being my greatest day. Let me explain.
I was having trouble choosing my greatest day. Then I started thinking that I was looking at this in the wrong way. My greatest day was not something that just happened. No my greatest day was the accumulation of many past days that when put together helped create what I might call my greatest day.
Your mom’s wedding is a snapshot in time to most, but to me it is the accumulation of my life.
I was in the room when she was born. I was there for her first cry. I cut the cord. I held her in my arms and looked at the tiny person we had created.
I watched her grow and mature into a wonderful, beautiful woman. She has always made me proud.
I would like to think that I played a role in the person she has become.
I remember all those evenings when I arrived home from work in the late evenings and walked into the house to be met by a screaming Erin who was refusing to sleep.
I would put her in the car, and we would go for a ride. She just wanted some dad time. When she got her fill, which sometimes did not take very long, back home we went.
As she grew we had many discussions and debates. Sometimes even arguments. Imagine that. You name a topic and we talked about it. Did not have Google back then so sometimes I had to produce answers off the top of my head. Not sure I was right all the time, but at least most of the time it worked. It’s just the weather Erin. (Inside Joke)
She grew up, while I grew out. Then one day she was all grown up.
In high school Steven started hanging out at my house wearing a Cardinals shirt. Smart kid.
Not sure when they started dating. I think Erin gave me a bogus birth certificate showing she was older than she was in order to go on dates with Steven. I cannot remember years and ages, or maybe I liked the kid.
After that, our time together started to diminish. We still had our talks. Just not as often.
Then came the day she told me that she was going to KU instead of the University of Missouri. Steven was going to KU. I should have seen that coming.
Then they got engaged.
A date was picked and plans were made. My contribution to all that I think was in helping plan the budget. I came up with a number I thought we should not exceed. It was a large sum of money. Others did not think so. I was fired. I still do not even know how much it actually cost. I think we were over budget. We survived. Looking back it was money well spent.
The week of the wedding Erin was home. We got to talk, reminisce, and laugh. Then I told her that I wanted to do one of those surprise wedding dances that Fathers have with their Daughter’s.
She laughed. Then she realized that I was really serious. She choreographed a dance. We only had a few days. We worked on it every night. I needed more time. Not just more time to learn the dance, but more time with your mother.
Not many people knew that we had a dance surprise. It was fun. I still remember it very well.
I remember the dance, and I remember that week. A week of reminiscing about the past and talking about the future.
I knew that soon I would be walking her down the aisle. I would be giving her away.
Giving her away?
Camden it is a custom dating back to…hell I do not know. A long time ago when the daughter was considered property of the father. Glad we have evolved. I like to think that it was a way for us to show our blessing.
It was a week that I knew would someday happen. A week to make more Father and Daughter memories. I realized that our relationship would change a little. I realized that she was leaving her childhood family to begin a family of her own.
While walking your beautiful mother down the aisle I was fulfilling one of my destinies so to speak. I was completing one of my commitments as a father. She will no longer live in my home but will forever remain a huge part of my life.
We raised her. We loved her. Now it was time for her to start her own family.
I had the privilege of the last walk with Erin Brown. Steven had the privilege of the first walk with Erin Heger.
Happy 10th Anniversary Erin and Steven Heger.
The 8th day of October 2011 was a day that reminded me of what truly matters. It was the GREATEST DAY OF MY LIFE.
For without that day, we would not have this day.