Mike and Shelby went to the Father-Daughter Dance last night. It’s always a night I love, because it’s so much fun to see him pulling out all the stops to go out with his little girl. With his three piece suit and a tie and pocket square to match her dress… he is always one of the best-dressed dads at the event, and is always out there ready to dance with her. I never got those experiences with my dad growing up, so I suppose I live vicariously through the joy in Shelby’s world now. It overflows me with love to do her hair and makeup and get his suit ironed and ready and take a bunch of pictures of them before I send them off for the evening.
There was one other special part of this evening though. One that hasn’t been there before. After they got home and showed me all the great pictures and funny videos from the dance. After they told me all the stories of the fun moments. And after we were settling in for the night a bit. Mike and I were chatting for a moment in the kitchen, when he picked up the little plastic tiara Shelby had gotten at the dance, and put it on his head to make me laugh. A huge smile grew on my face and then tears started to flow. Suddenly, a moment from my present so completely overlapped with a moment from my past in the most beautiful way…
For one of Drew’s last birthdays before he died, we went to our favorite bowling alley with a group of friends. His best friend (ironically, also a Marine named Mike) had given him a plastic tiara as a joke for his birthday… and we made him wear it at the bowling alley. He wore that tiara with pride, and there are a few great pictures of him putting on a “tough guy” look with this tiny, purple plastic crown on. It’s a memory that has always stuck with me. It was such a happy day and time in my life.
When I watched Mike, suddenly it felt like a strangely beautiful meshing of old and new. A part of me that remembered it happening before, felt almost confused for a moment. Almost unsure of whether we were seeing current life, or the past life. Only it wasn’t really upsetting or awkward or actually confusing at all. I swear in that moment, it felt like two separate lifetimes crossing over each other. It felt like being present in both of these lives at the very same time. It felt like Mike and his own silliness touched a place in my heart that remembered an equally silly moment from another life, years ago, and gave it life again, just for that brief moment. It was so strangely not strange.It just felt beautiful, and right, and whole.
Of course, Mike wasn’t sure why I was tearing up at first. I told him the story and he was relieved they were happy tears and he hugged me tight as we smiled at each other. I cherish those moments. They don’t happen too often, but when they do, it almost feels as though Drew never died at all. It almost feels as if he’s still somewhere nearby, and every now and again his energy just sort of joins Mike and I through some little, ordinary moment like this.
Although Mike and Drew have their differences, they both have a goofiness that is so much the same. There is the same familiar feeling with them both. I sometimes wonder whether they had been my brothers in past lifetimes. After last night though, it even makes me wonder if all three of us were siblings at one point. What if, in some other life, it was these two goons I grew up with? And they tormented me and annoyed me the way only brothers can! And they anchored me too, only the way brothers can. The fact that they would both respond to this idea by saying “That means you’ve sex with your brothers!” most definitely confirms for me... these boys, as some point, in some lifetime, were cut from the very same cloth. And I love that.