All things life, style and Southern living

Happy Birthday, Dad

November 16, 2014

Family Life

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You would have been 65 today and you probably would have hated every minute of it. You had enough trouble turning 45 and going through your midlife crisis of wanting a pot belly pig so I’m guessing 65 would have been awful. You enjoyed life too much to be slowed down by old age. Happy birthday anyway. It would have been wonderful to see what it looked like on you. I would imagine you still would have had your mustache, but your hair would have been a salt and pepper grey. You would probably still don your usual jeans and Spear Pool t-shirts. And that toothpick that always hung off your lips.

It will be twenty years this New Year’s Eve since you’ve been gone. There are days that it seems like yesterday. And other days it seems as though you never existed. I hate those days. I hate that time has caused fading, but those days that it still hurts? I revel in them. It’s dark and twisted, but hurting reminds that you were actually here.

I was thinking the other day about what I would even write today. It’s always hard to not become a mess of words and emotions whenever I talk about you, but all I could think of was this single Saturday morning. I had to be about eight or nine. I woke up and knew it was early, but I couldn’t sleep anymore. It was Saturday morning which meant you would be taking me to the stables to ride. I threw my legs over the side of the bed and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. Pulled my jeans on, an old T-shirt and grabbed my boots. I tip-toed down the hallway and out into the kitchen. The house was quiet and everyone else was still asleep. I knew exactly where you would be. After I pulled my boots on, I opened the door to the garage and there you were. KNIX playing, washing your truck. You looked up and smiled seeing me already dressed and ready to go. You told me to wait just a few minutes and you would be ready as well.

On the way we would talk about everything and anything – conversations broken up with lyrics to Garth Brooks. We often talked about our future plans of buying a horse. You promised me for my twelfth birthday. At the ranch you would help me pull the horse out and brush him down. You would grab the saddle from the tack room because it was too heavy for me to lift and you would watch me tighten the cinch to make sure I had it done right. And you would stand there at the arena and watch. You never looked away. You sat on the bleachers and you would watch me for the full hour as I had my lesson. I’ll never forget that. It was my time with you – undivided attention and all. I don’t think I realized what a gift that was until I got older and had kids of my own.

We would climb back into your truck for the ride home. I would smell of dirt, alfalfa and manure and you would tease me. We would stop at McDonald’s like we always did and you were always shocked I always ordered two cheeseburgers and finished both. As I sat sipping my milkshake, you called me Tex. I can’t remember if an explanation came with it, but I remember telling you that you also needed a nickname. We decided on Mex. You owned a pool company and built them for a living. Being in the sun came with the job and people often teased you that you were so tan. It was fitting with your humor. And that was that. Mex and Tex. It was you. It was you and me.

It is one of the few days of my childhood that I remember like it was yesterday. I hate to admit to myself that a lot of them have faded over the years, but a few remain. And those are the ones I tell my kids about. You are a part of conversation more often than not and for that I am so incredibly grateful. I’m sure you know, but Tanner seems to have this unexplainable connection with you that I thank God for everyday. He speaks as if he knows you and it makes it hurts a little less when I realize that you haven’t been around to see me have children. Or to hold them and teach them.

I could go on and on, Dad. About how unfair it is that you haven’t been here. About how everyone lied to me – time doesn’t help. It still hurts just as much as it did back then, but I would rather have ten years with you then none. Thank you for those ten years.

Happy Birthday, Mex. I love you.

Happy Birthday, Dad | HausOfLayne.com

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  1. Rick Hart

    November 16th, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for posting this. Jack was a huge part of my life. He was a great scout leader, employer, and friend. My heart broke the day he passed away. I still think of him so often. Thank you for posting this. You described him personally.

  2. Rick Hart

    November 16th, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    i meant to say you described him perfectly.

  3. Kara Layne

    November 16th, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    And then of course I realize that it’s you, Rick, and not your Dad 😉 Thank you so much for the sweet words, Rick. You and your family mean the world to us and you are in our thoughts all the time.

  4. lisa chelstrom (Bruemmer)

    November 16th, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Beautifully written Kara. For years I would think of your sweet family every day at dinner time. How hard it must be still. I hope Jack had a happy birthday today. Im sure he is near and loves this precious post from you written to him. Give your mom a hug from me. I still think of you often and glad your doing well. ♡ Lisa

  5. Kara Layne

    November 28th, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Lisa, thank you so much. It is so wonderful to hear from you – I often think of you and your family and how much I adore each of your kids. I hope they are doing well – I have missed Heather terribly over the years. I hope you are doing wonderful!!

  6. Melanie Price Wellman

    November 16th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I’m sure you don’t know me, as you were too young when I was in the ward. But I sit here bawling as I read your sweet tribute to your dad. It will be 20 years ago next year that we have been without our dad (Ron Price) too. My dad loved your Dad and thought so much of him. When my dad had cancer and was too sick to take care of our pool, your dad sent his crew over to take care of it for us for free. Your dad was so good. One time, when I was a senior in high school, I got a very bad haircut. I looked really ridiculous and was very embarrassed. Your dad came up to me at church and said, “I thought you were pretty before, but wow! Look at you now!” His comment made my day and as always, there was Jack making us all feel better about ourselves.
    One day on my mission as I was riding my bike through the streets of Japan I got this feeling to write to your dad and tell him how great I thought he was. I felt like I needed to thank him for that day and how he made me feel. But, as I so often do, I put it off and didn’t immediately write the letter. A few weeks later I got a letter from my dad telling me that he had passed away. I never got to send my letter. Maybe writing this to you will help that guilt that I’ve always felt for that dumb procrastination.
    Anyway, I’m with you on the time doesn’t help thing. I miss my dad today as much as I did 19 years ago. The world has certainly missed out these last twenty years since these two great men have been gone. I hope they get to hang out together in heaven sometimes and talk about their awesome kids and grandkids.
    I’m glad Rick Hart linked this blog post up on Facebook. I’m so happy I got to remember your sweet dad tonight.

  7. Kara Layne

    November 28th, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Miss Melanie, I totally and completely remember you and your sweet family. I can remember the time we ventured up to Utah and stayed with all of you – it was sometime after my father had passed. I cannot thank you enough for sharing that story with me. Hearing people talk about my father is the greatest gift because it reminds me that he really did exist. And people remembering him means the world. Thank you!

  8. Christie Knight

    November 17th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Kara, I love how honest you are and how you share your personal stories and memories of your Dad with all of us. I was 16 when my own father passed away. I so relate when I think of what my own father would look like, with the mustache and toothpick, and how much my own kids would have adored him. Thank you for sharing! <3

  9. Kara Layne

    November 28th, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Miss Christie, I had no idea you were part of the “Dead Dad’s Club” (Grey’s Anatomy phrase), but it’s no wonder that I have always adored you 😉 Hope you and that beautiful family of yours is doing wonderful!

  10. Lauren

    November 20th, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    You, Kara, are so brave and such a beautifully strong friend I admire greatly. Thank you, as always, for your honesty and candor. You have done here what I have yet to be able to do for myself, but I am grateful for the inspiration. Everyone whose life your dad touched misses him greatly. May we all cherish his memory.

  11. Kara Layne

    November 28th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Oh, Miss Lauren. I adore you. Thank you for your support all these years and for being a part of my childhood. Some of my greatest memories have you in them from back in the day when we would act out the Thoroughbred books in your front yard 😉 I can’t imagine what the neighbors were thinking, but I loved the world we created!

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