I apologize in advance for those of you who have had to endure the endless years of me go on and on about Shark Week. It’s an unhealthy addiction but, I take it back-I’m not even going to apologize.
Shark Week started for me thirty years ago. It was thirty years ago that my dad realized I was never going to care about football the way he did. I was the kid that stood in front of the TV, when weekend football engulfed the entirety of what we did. I was the boy they were suppose to have and while I was more than scrappy enough, I never quite embraced the game.
During one Christmas, he and my mom purchased a Jacques Cousteau book as a gift for me and I became completely obsessed with sharks. Enter…Shark Week… and my dad’s reason to distract me and bond over something something that wasn’t football.
For three short years, I got to discuss shark attacks, migratory patterns and feeding behaviors of sharks with my dad, and for once I had something he seemed as excited about as I did. Even if he wasn’t, he acted like he was. I never cared at the time whether or not my dad got as excited as I did about great whites-I just cared that he and I had something we did together.
My kids will tell you how this has become a long-running tradition in our house. It might have even become a slight obsession over time, but it’s only because it’s the one little bit of him that’s good and happy I can remember, right before he died.
I think we all become that way-we hold on to the things that make us feel comfort. I think that’s what makes us all hold on to things-even that often times bring us pain. We want so badly to hold on to the good we forget why we had to let go at all.
Recently, I’ve had to let go of a few relationships in my life and it’s hurt and been painful and makes me wonder if it was the right thing to do. Letting go of things not meant for you is never easy. For me, that was especially true about the painful memories I held on to from losing dad and how he died.
All these years later, our Shark Week festivities have turned into a celebration and a reminder of all the things I loved about him. This tradition transformed the sadness I felt into new memories we were making as a family, that somehow let him be a living part of that.
I tried to give up Shark Week over the last couple of years because frankly, I was tired of finding new shark trivia question or finding a new Shark Week-themed dessert. I think I knew that was never really going to happen. Shark Week will always my favorite week of the year because it reminds me of all the best parts of him.
Sharks and my dad will forever go hand-in-hand and will always be in my heart.
Fins up, Shark Week fans. It’s almost that time…