Tonight, as a Chicago Now Blogger, we had the opportunity to write about "Someone Who Made You Feel Special." Once a month we have a challenge to receive a surprise topic, write for an hour and publish it without over-thinking it or over-correcting it.
I thought about many people in my 44 years who made me feel special...teachers, aunts, uncles, friends, family...but this one goes out to Papa.
Was Native American spirituality in his roots? I don't know. When my brother and I did something that he was proud of he would say, "My heart soars like the hawk." (I think it came from Kevin Costner's big hit, Dances With Wolves, but who knows?)
When we would sit and have dinner together, laughing and eating delicious food, he would say, "Money can't buy this."
When we were throwing up in the middle of the night as kids and he held our heads strong so we wouldn't fall head-first in the toilet.
Waving to him as he pulled out of the driveway going to work; getting out of his car and doing a full Charlie Chaplin routine to our delight.
Playing hide and seek around the house; he would place his shoes at the bottom of the drapes so it looked like he was hiding behind them but was really hiding somewhere in the other side of the house.
Telling me that no matter what job I had at whatever company I was at: "You can run it-be the best."
Having a blast on a family vacation together--even as adults--and saying, "We are so lucky."
But more than anything--what stands out more than all of these times--was his capacity to be present. It was a gift of his which made people love him. I know others felt just as special with this trait of his.
Because, when someone sits down with you and asks you how you are and truly listens--intently--with authenticity--there is nothing like it. My dad heard what I had to say. He rarely did two things at once (holding one of my kids doesn't count). He often sat down with me and engaged in conversation whole-heartedly with true opinions, reactions, responses and most importantly, love. There is nothing like being on the receiving end of that.
What does it feel like?
Supported. Honored. Respected. Loved.
Thank you, Don Rigali. RIP
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