March 12, 2010

Being sentimental and telling awesome stories

I feel its only fair to warn you, I'm feeling a little sentimental today.

I usually do the "picture of the day" but I'm skipping out on it. Hopefully there wasn't going to be a pop quiz. 

So you can either quickly shut off your computer and take a bath in sanitizer, or risk warm fuzzy contamination.

You've been warned.

My dad has an aggressive form of Large B Cell Lymphoma (cancer). We haven't known very long but my parents decided to try and beat it naturally since they know so many people who have died or had their bodies destroyed by the chemo.

But so far it doesn't seem to be working.

Remember last weekend we went down to Provo for my niece's baby blessing? Well, my dad showed me his P.E.T. scan. Apparently in a P.E.T scan, the only parts of your body that are suppose to show up white are your brain, part of your heart, and your bladder; the rest should be black.

Well, almost his whole body was white, especially near his neck and his mid section where all the nodes are. You could even seen his bones since the cancer is in his bone marrow.

The doctor told him that if he doesn't do anything he will be dead in six months.

Talk about shocking and depressing. (don't worry, the warm fuzzies are coming)

I love my parents. I have the best parents anyone could ask for. I love my dad. He is so special to me for so many reasons.

I could write the world's longest blog post on him. I won't, but it still might be a tad long.

All growing up I was told how much I looked like him. As a teenager people started adding "except prettier" as if they were afraid I would get upset that I was told I looked like a man... I mean, that I looked like my dad, not like a man. I don't think I looked like a man... you know what? Never mind.

I remember him either working hard or laughing hard. He would spend hours upon hours making flower boxes, side walks, and anything else my mom wanted done. I would know, I was there with him missing a nail head and pounding my thumb instead,
 or pouring water in the wheelbarrow while he mixed the concrete with a shovel.

I've also seen him laugh so hard he was crying. You can't help but feel good when he laughs.

He has a sense of humor that not everyone could appreciate (like him having Darth Vader figurines in his office when he was Bishop) but that others found very cool and loved him instantly.

I have lots of memories playing dogpile on him. My oldest brother would lay on my dad's stomach, then my other brother, than my older sister, than me (that's me in the red) and even my younger sister at times. He would try to wrap his arms around all five of us as he swayed back and forth until we would finally fall over. Good times.

When I was in 1st grade, I made a clay monster for him. It looked more like a chewed up gum drop with arms.

But he took it, praised it, and placed it on his desk in the office and told me how cool it was. I'm sure I radiated with pride. It was there for a VERY LONG TIME.

When I was old enough to realize that it looked like a chewed up gum drop with arms, I told him to get rid of it and wondered why he still had it.

He told me it was because I made it, and it was cool as though that were reason enough.

For Christmas another year, I took an empty bean can, taped red plastic around it and gave it to him as a pencil holder. He used it for years! When I was old enough to realize how bad it looked I asked him why he didn't just toss it out already.

I remember him saying, "Why? It works great! It's quite functional and besides, you made it for me."

He's always had a great sense of confidence and self-assurance that was sometimes mistaken for pride. But it was simply that he knew who he was and didn't let what anyone else thought about him bother or upset him. I've always envied that about him.

(family picture before my youngest brother was born. I'm there in front of my dad)

Even though there were a lot of us, my parents took us on lots of family trips and we went camping EVERY Thanksgiving. Now those stories deserve a post all their own!

He has a way of making me feel like anything I do is amazing. He praised my awful drawings and showed off my bad paintings. He encouraged me to keep going and be willing to try my hand at anything.

When I was attending the community college where he taught, he even bet one of his students that if the guy could get me to say yes to a date, he would give him an A in the class.

I never did say yes, but he pressured me good and I almost did. When I found out about the bet, I was mortified over the fact that I had almost caved and asked my dad why in the world he would make such a bet? What if I had said yes!

His answer was plain and simple. "I just knew you wouldn't."

He knew me well.

Whenever I got my heart broken he would tell me I deserved better. Even if it wasn't true, it sounded nice coming from him.

When I joined a modeling agency after I had my third baby (don't ask and no, I'm not a model) he was the only one who was truly supportive. His mom had been a model and he thought it was very cool.

I still send him my art work and ask for his opinion. If I need the courage to try something new I'll call him because he'll give me the encouragement I need without making me feel stupid.

He makes me feel important.

I am grateful families can be forever.

So it was great to spend a little time with him and some of my family last weekend.

I'll post pictures from that tomorrow because I promised my sister I would. Even her crazy bum picture. (But if I start getting hate mail I'm going to have to come after you Becka!)

I won't blame you if you'd rather suck on pickles in a bathtub filled with ice than come see the photos.
But if you do happen to come by just know some of the pictures are this crazy. Smith Family Crazy.

Just thought I'd warn you.

And Dad? I love you.

29 super cool people speak:

Katie said...

Your dad seems pretty great. I hope he finds a treatment that will work for him.

Linda said...

Oh Serene my heart goes out to you. What a great tribute to your dad. I love that he had Darth Vadar in the Bishops office. I have a very cool dad too and can appreciate how you feel about yours. Virtual blog hugs to you and your family.

Heidi said...

I love dads. I've always known yours had to be amazing because the few of his children that I've met are awesome! My prayers are still with you and your family.

Patty Ann said...

Serene, this was an amazing post. Thank you so much for sharing. Make sure that he sees it. The really important people should know how much they have influenced us and impacted out lives.

Sarah loves it all said...

I am so close with my dad. I can relate to your relationship with your dad. I'm so glad you're not afraid to do a sentimental post because I love them. I hope you find comfort. Hang in there and thanks for blogging.

PS-I have so many pictures like those that are cut around due to the old scrapbooking trends. What were we thinking??

Megan Jones said...

Sarah, I have so many memories of you and your family! You guys WERE my family for those 3 short years. your dad is awesome and I have been praying for your whole family since I found out about his diagnosis. I put his name in at the Newport temple and think of him often. I think dad's have the best and hardest job in the world, and yours does a bang up job at it!!

Acting Balanced Mom said...

so sorry that your dad and your family are going through this - I hope that your dad and his doctor can figure out a good balance for him... and it has a positive outcome!

You guys will be in my thoughts!

The Tanners said...

Bless your heart Serene in this very hard time! Your dad sounds like an amazing man! I wish you all the best during this time... and i loved all the pictures and stories!

Kira said...

Your family is great. You were blessed to grow up with them.

Hil said...

What a beautiful post and wonderful dad. Thank you for sharing. He will be in my prayers!

Charlotte said...

My prayers are with you and your dad. A beautiful reminiscence you've written.

Elizabeth said...

This was one amazing post, I didn't know about his diagnosis before now but he is in our prayers. He was always fun to be around and one of my favorite memories (besides all of the camping trips!) was him making hamburgers, with that 100 quart stainless steel bowl and about 60 pounds of hamburg. What, it wasn't that big? Seriously, that man knows how to make burgers!!!

Jess said...

Hey Serene, what a warm fuzzy post and great pictures too. Thanks for sharing, and know that you and your family will be in our prayers.
Love, US

Jocelyn Christensen said...

Wow. :)

joy said...

What a sweet post! Thanks for sharing. I know how important it is to be close to daddy. I feel the same about mine. I will pray for your family Serene, especially your dad. Love, Joy

Anonymous said...

Wow, that post brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful father you have! I hope your family is able to find a treatment that works!

Amanda said...

Sarah, I love you and your family! Your dad is a great man and I am so sorry to hear what is going on. Most of my Florida memories involve your family/dad...the Thanksgiving campouts, temple baptism trips, youth conferences, the Rainbow River fiasco...all good memories :) I will continue to pray for him and your family.

Emmy said...

Such a beautiful post! He sounds like an amazing man. I am so sorry for the battle he is now going through.

Wonder Woman said...

so many thoughts right do look like your look like you *could* be a model.....I can't help but ache for you....I love my own dad so much....yours sounds a lot like mine -- so supportive and with a great sense of humor......what would I even do if I learned my dad had cancer.....

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Serene. If you need a sitter when you come down here, let me know. (SERIOUSLY.)

the fowlers said...

dads are so special. i totally choked up at the gumdrop with arms - it really is the little things. our prayers are with you.

Lacie @ Creative Attempts said...

Happy SITS saturday sharefest! your family looks like a blast and can i just say the pic on the top of your blog made my heart melt, little toes are the best :)

Brittney said...

So sorry to hear about the bad diagnosis. Praying for you.

MindyannaJ said...

Your parents and family will always have a special place in my heart. I wept when I heard about your dad a few months ago. I hope your dad knows how many people care about him (even those he hasn't been around in years). My whole heart is hoping for better news soon.

Marvett Smith said...

My prayers are with you Serene. I hope your dad can get well soon. Dad's really are the best!

Valerie said...

That must have been a big shock to hear about your father, even though he was already diagnosed. I'm so sorry that things aren't working better faster. That must be so difficult for you and your family.

Love all the pictures, especially that last fun one!

Seth said...

Your dad has always been a great example to me, and now that I'm a father, an even greater example.

Amber said...

Reading these stories really gave me hope for my desire to have a big family. : )

Your dad does sound amazing. I really can't fully express what I am trying to say. I guess that it is nice to hear about your awesome memories about your dad. Dad's seem to get a bad rap these days, y'know?

Renee said...

When I heard the news my heart dropped, such a wonderful, loving man going through such a hard time. We have been praying for your family and that the alternative ways help to heal him. We love you guys and really wish we lived closer to help in some way. Love you guys!!!

Mama Smith said...

This was my first time...I got a chance to read this post...A WONDERFUL POST...Sarah...A GREAT TRIBUTE to your Dad...He truly is a GREAT FATHER...ALWAYS HAS BEEN! and always WILL BE!

Your father was greatly TOUCHED by the things you and others wrote...It is a STRENGTH that only LOVE can OFFER...

MEMORIES....As a FAMILY...we have LOTS OF THEM! I do believe, Sarah...overall...for "beginners" we did alright...FIRST GENERATION to join the church...NOW, YOU...and your SIBLINGS...will carry the torch as the SECOND GENERATION...and make FANTASTIC LONG-LASTING MEMORIES...for YOUR CHILDREN to write day...

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