Last night, after my last shift at Rita’s, I realized that the only reason I wanted to go back to school was for a little extra quiet time and not hearing “Oh look at that, you’re on your phone” every single time I go near my phone.  Other than that, I think I could’ve stuck with my four- year- old self’s plan to live with my mom for the rest of my life.  

Working for Your Social Media Hour kept me around my bunch of crazies for weeks.  I worked out of the living room, took lunch breaks when I wanted, got to read as part of my work, learn more to add to my resume, and got to go on an insane amount of lunch dates with Stephie to Panera (every time).  And I loved it.  The reason that we were all in the house together wasn’t so happy but I know Dad continues to look down on us and laugh at the craziness.  In the end, even though I had been counting down the hours until moving back to school, I realized it could suck and my living room at school will not be anywhere close to as entertaining the one in D-town is.

I’m sitting on my bed at school after a lunch out at The Couch Tomato with my mom, sister and stepsister who were the best team of movers I could have.  Last year my mom and I took about 5 trips just the two of us to move my stuff in before my dad showed up for the last big haul.  Four people is definitely the way to do it.  

Anyways, on their way out, my mom hugged me, my stepsister then hugged me, then Stephie hugged me and I started crying.  Then Jen started crying and hugged me again.  Then stephie started crying and hugged me again too.  THEN Jen gave me a note in an envelope.  Then I placed envelope on my desk.  I walked them out, everyone still crying, hugged them all again and they went on their way.

Now, my mom is famous for giving envelopes to people.  It was thick and anyone who gets a thick envelope from their parents, of course, assumes money.  But I got something arguably better than money.  My envelope held my first square.  

If you knew my dad, there are a few things you probably picked up on.  

1. He was a “self- proclaimed beer snob”- or that’s what his girlfriend called it.  

2. He was the happiest person in the world

3. His 3 favorite people were his daughters

4. He loved the beach

5. He wore his Hawaiian shirts everywhere

We will be focusing on #5.

Now, even though my parents are divorced, they remained very good friends.  So much so that my dad was very well aware of how crazy my mom thought his collection of Hawaiian shirts was even though he started wearing them after the divorce.  

His seasonal wardrobe consisted of Black and Green sweaters in the winter and these shirts in the summer.  They were always worn out on vacations, any summer outing, beach days, and he even purchased a red one when he dressed up as Santa for Stephie’s “Christmas in August” birthday party.

So my mom channeled her creative side and came up with a brilliant idea for these shirts.  They were so “John Wengler” that she decided this would be the way that we always had him with us.  Through squares of his Hawaiian shirts.

They’ll be sewn into graduation gowns, wedding gowns, baby blankets, and be given to us during big moments- this one being the first college move- in and school year without the person who has been my biggest supporter.

A little piece of something that made him, him is now with me throughout every adventure I’ll go through this year- every single adventure that I know I’d tell him about.

So, thank you Jenny G. for an amazing summer.  We joke about how crazy the house is but I know for a fact that I’ll miss it and everyone who made it crazy.  You were right in the letter saying that Dad’s greatest gift to us through all of this was an amazing relationship with you.  I love you.

P.S. This isn’t the very first square.  Vicki, Stephie and I received one each the day of the funeral before we left the room for the guys to close the casket.  Three squares are laying on his arm in the casket with him.