18 is a fascinating number…
When I look at it long enough, it starts to look like two people, differently shaped, standing next to each other. Separate, both independently complete on their own, and yet, when standing next to each other, they add up into something quite literally and figuratively equal to more than just the sum of their parts.
Of course, 18 is ironically the age where many of us are thought to be independent, no longer leaning on the ones who have come before us and shaped us into the figures we are today. The irony, of course, is that they will always be with us, always be a part of us.
18 for me is all of this, and it’s also the day our Pops passed away. Our number 1. Tall and skinny, straight and to the point, an A-to-B type of guy. Consistent as a line, always on time, always dressed the same, always ate the same, always joked the same, always loved the same.
Tonight I had a dream about Nana. She was holding my 8-year-old niece, Jasmine. They were in their swimsuits and had just come from some type of waterpark. Which is a very believable dream, except that Nana has never met Jasmine. Never carried her. Never had a chance to take her to the waterpark.
But Pops did. One of my favorite photos is of him holding Jasmine while sitting in ”Pops’ rocking chair” at our old home. And on the morning he passed away, May 18 2011, I walked around that rocking chair for almost an hour, carrying Jasmine and humming to her.
Seven years later, I’m still walking around that rocking chair, still carrying Jasmine and Pops and Nana with me and inside me. And in this way, Pops has found a way to continue on. To be boundless, as a line, to be of “breadthless lengths.” To be alongside of us, keeping us straight, serving as a guiding sign, pointing us in the right direction, accompanying us along the path, even when we don’t realize it.