I know a girl...

"...she puts the color inside of my world, but she's just like a maze, where all the walls continually change."

Hopefully by then end of this post, you will get the title and subtitle of this post. If not, read John Mayer's Daughters lyrics. You'll see.

I want to start out saying that this is not a sad post. It's not meant to be depressing or to envoke sympathy. It's just what has been on my mind, and always is this time of year.

June and July are bittersweet months for me. My Daddy and cousin both died on June 19, 15 years apart. In 1989, on June 19, it was Father's Day. I was six and lost the most important man in my life. My dearly departed grandfather, would have had a birthday on June 22. He raised me until I was 14, when he passed away. My dad would have been 50 yesterday. The sweet of bittersweet comes from the fact that I love summertime and I have many great memories to cherish.

I was my daddy's little princess, my cousin Ryan's annoying, tattle-telling, irritating "little" (I was 5 months younger and was constantly reminded of it) sister whom he fought with and for; and constantly reminded me of how proud he was and how much he loved me. I was my grandfather's pride and joy. He was sure I would change the world someday.

These three men loved me fiercely and I wantto tell you how their lives...and deaths have affected me.

I was barely six when my daddy died. I have exactly four pictures of the two of us. They were all happy, loving pictures filled with mutual admiration. To him, I was the funniest, prettiest, smartest, most talented, greatest thing to ever be born. I remember a huge, fun-loving, cuddly, and kind man who could throw me in the air with the greatest of ease. Unfortunately, at 29, he was still a kid himself and was taken from me way too soon. I still have great memories of him. I have stories from family and friends; and of course the one thing that can still make my grandmother's heart ache for her baby boy even after all these years - my daddy's piercing blue eyes.

When it came to Ryan, I was gray and he was all the colors of the rainbow. He was rambunctious, fun, mischieveous, and, well...wild. I was a rule-follower, a worrier, a loner, and someone who played it safe. We never admitted it to each other, but I'm pretty sure that each of us wished we had just a little piece of the other in us. We fought, hated each other, screamed, yelled, and went silent. But, before night fell, one of us would undoubtedly throw our arms around the other and say "sorry, you know I love you like a brother/sister and didn't mean what I said." He was a force to be reckoned with, and my heart aches for him more than anyone. He was the first person I lost as an adult. I had to deal with real, grown-up emeotions and heart break. His death is the reason I questioned my faith and was comforted my the answers I received. I never doubted my faith again.

My grandfather had an eighth grade education. He worked extremely hard to provide for his family. He could hardly write and learned to read by studying the newspaper every day. He loved current events and politics. He gave up a leisurely retirement to raise me. He taught me everything I know about driving, work ethic, the value of an education and staying grounded in your morals and values. If I had to choose...I'd say he is my hero.

It's interesting how the three men that have meant the most to me and have influenced me the most, were gone before I became an adult, and learned to appreciate the lessons they taught me. All I can do now is make them proud and do my best to imitate every good thing they represented.

"...Oh, you see that skin? It's the same she's been standing in, since the day she saw him walking away. Now she's left, cleaning up the mess he made. So Father's be good to your daughters."