This morning, a video appeared on my Facebook of a young man beautifully singing “Danny Boy”, an Irish song written in 1910. And my eyes welled, and overflowed, with tears. Dad.
Growing up my dad would sing at the top of his lungs all day every day unless he was asleep. He would sing over the noise of the vacuum, in the shower, folding the laundry, and of course in the car. He will happily sing anything but I have a list of favorites: Tura Lura Lural (my childhood lullaby), Danny Boy, You Raise Me Up, and anything written by Bruce Springsteen. When I listened to this man on Facebook sing Danny Boy, I was given a moment of something I can’t put into words.
Independence is my middle name. Always has been. I have been away at college, and now medical school, since I graduated High School, only returning home for holidays and summer. The years have gone by so fast that it almost feels like it hasn’t been 6 years. It feels like I see my family often because the time in between is so insignificant compared to the time we are together. Anyways, I call dad at LEAST 3x/day- it feels like I’m not disconnected from home. It feels so temporary because I am always counting down until the break from school. And sometimes, I feel like I have made my home here. Today, a piece of my childhood said hello, and all of the sudden I have been away from home for what feels like forever because my people are my home. My dad singing is the ultimate symbol of home for me, and Danny Boy reminded my heart of that.
Time is something I often struggle with. The concept of limited time, time moving too quickly, or wanting to go back. Boy, do I wish I could go back to the weekends I spent with my dad growing up. The seemingly insignificant days that have recently become my favorite, and most vivid, childhood memories. I wish we could pause the ever-forward mind-set of entering adult hood and creating a life for ourselves. A transition my hyper-reflective-self is painfully aware of. It is a weird feeling to know that in no time I will be in the shoes I always viewed as my dad’s- you know, the real adult ones. The shoes with a career, a family, a “back in my day” childhood, a head full of knowledge and a heart full of experience, a list of decisions I need to make with a responsible and rational thought process. Fortunately, I have learned from the best but that doesn’t mean I am remotely looking forward to letting go of my “growing up” life to enter my “grown up” life.
For the last five years I have confidently claimed, “I want to live in Oklahoma”, in response to those asking what my plans are after medical school. Today, my response changed. Although I am often too busy to think much into it, my heart clearly not only misses my family at home- it can’t imagine continuing this “holidays and summer” countdown until time is no longer taken for granted. I don’t know where I will end up, but I do know that I can’t wait to be closer to my favorite humans in the world.