Three years ago, I left the tech company I was working for to focus on being a mom. I was torn between the career I loved and the young son who I knew wanted me home more. Also wrapped in the middle of this conflict was my dream of writing.
It took me two years to extricate myself from my tech career. Initially, I took consulting jobs to make money because having zero income was a crippling feeling. I had spent the better part of twenty years trying to figure out how to make the next year’s W2 bigger than the last.
Yet I had a dream. I wanted to finish my first book and go on to write another one.
Last week the thing my father loved most was towed peacefully from Commencement Bay to a scrap metal yard in Texas. On a gray day, when the water was smooth, his beloved ship made her final voyage past his home. He stood on his deck, camera in hand, and watched as her old metal frame was pulled from his view.
He e-mailed my sisters and me a picture and wrote simply, “There she goes.” We’ve long had a joke in our family that his ships are our other sisters. He devoted his life to their voyages, their repairs, their temperaments. And in my youth it felt like he was more committed to them than he was to me.
In the final weeks of my father’s life, we asked him, “How would you like people to celebrate you once you are gone?”
“No party,” he grumbled. “No party.”
Let me tell you something about my dad: He never missed a party. He never missed a celebration for someone he cared about. He never missed a funeral for someone significant in his life that had passed. This is the guy who attended every high school and neighborhood reunion possible, and he lived 3,000 miles away from where they were held.