Instant Inspiration: My Father’s List
The world—especially here in the U.S.—is in a bit of turmoil right now. No matter which side you’re on politically, there’s a lot of tension everywhere you look. That’s why I’m super excited to take a break from all the chaos and tell you about my wife Laura‘s incredibly exciting new project, My Father’s List. She’s always a source of inspiration for me, but with this it’s tenfold.
Shortly after Laura and I met, her father died at the hands of a distracted driver on her cell phone—he was 54. I’d spoken to him only twice, both times on the same day. Ironically, the first time was over the phone and I was driving. I had no idea the dangers of doing that back then. Nobody did, really. Today I won’t touch a phone while I’m behind the wheel, thanks to the education Laura and her co-activists have given me. I wish I’d been able to know her father better. But because of the stories that she and her family tell, I know that he was a very good, very funny, very caring man—all things he passed down to his children.
In the 13 years since his death, Laura has been trying to find the right way to tell his story. She does it here and there in articles and essays, but they’re often tied to distracted driving and not necessarily a full picture of who he was. She decided to write a memoir about her relationship with him and the things she’s gone through since his death, but the format never clicked (He was a writer as well, so there were thoughts of including some of his work alongside hers; she thought about essays and illustrations). That is until recently.
A few months ago we visited Laura’s brother and his now-wife at their new home. When moving, he came across an old satchel that belonged to their father. Inside were a few odds and ends . . . and a list. It was titled “Things I Would Like to Do in My Lifetime!” In total it contained sixty items, only four or five of which he’d checked off. Heartbreaking. They ranged from grand endeavors (Correspond with the pope) to seemingly trivial things (grow a watermelon (my personal favorite)). Immediately, the book’s form revealed itself: Laura was going to finish this list for her father! This is how she was going to honor his life—by doing the things he never got to do.
This site is where the project has begun. Laura is posting here as she checks off items. There are a few already done, which will go up soon, and plans for finishing others already in the works. It’s going to be a really fun journey filled with inspiration that I hope you go along on.