How do you decide you have enough?
I’m selling a piece of property this week. It’s the last piece of my father’s financial legacy. The last of what he toiled for day in and day out, with vacations few and far between; the last of his blood sweat and tears.
Part of me is relieved, it’s one less thing to manage, part of me is heartbroken. The property I’m selling is the office suite where he spent a huge chunk of his life. He served multiple generations there, watching kids grow into parents and even grandparents. A lot can happen in thirty-four years!
Even though he passed away in 2015 I still kinda expect to see him, with a giant smile and his arms outstretched towards me for a hug, when I go through the door beyond the waiting room.
While the office now sports an elegant, Southwestern feel, with terracotta tiles and original Native art on the walls, there was a time when the waiting room was anchored by a giant tropical beach scene. One of those life-size wallpaper photographs designed to take you far, far away. I’m not sure if my dad was trying to escape, or hoping his patients would and forget they were about to have their teeth cleaned or a cavity filled.
I remember one weekend during my sophomore year, my best friend and I decided we wanted to do a photo shoot in front of that wall. Dad kindly obliged. We moved all the furniture while he set up his camera. We donned swimsuits and sarongs, sunglasses and wicker hats. We were convinced we were trés chic!
I’m guessing my father was mildly entertained, but I also think he was wishing for more. Wishing he could take us on a real tropical getaway. Wishing he made more and had more and could give us more.
He’d always dreamed of more. I think he was often looking up the ladder and comparing himself to those who had climbed higher — and I don’t think he’s alone. I imagine too that there were a number of people who looked up to him and wish they’d done so well. Who hasn’t wanted more?
I have no regrets around my relationship with my dad. I was there the day he passed away and for all the days before then there was always love between us. But if I could go back and whisper one thing to him. If I could have one thing sink into his soul, one thing touch the core of his being, it would be this: