Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MY FIRST EMAIL ADDRESS & WHY I STILL USE IT

I remember the day that my dad set me up with an email account.  He was an early(ish) adopter and was pleased to bring dial-up AOL into our Kansas basement that had mauve carpet and floral paneling.  I loved hearing the words, "You've Got Mail," because it was before the days of massive email spamming, and it meant that you actually had email you might be actually interested in reading.  IMing my friends also became such fun, until the phone line had been tied up too long and needed to be used for a phone call by someone else in the family.

And while that trip down nostalgia lane certainly conjures an entirely other life and person and time, it does not capture why I still use my very first email address.  Which I do.

First off, because my dad came up with it, it actually wasn't dumb.  I imagine that if I had been left to my own 14 year old devices, I probably would have chosen poorly.  But Dad wisely took this matter out of my hands and used my first name, part of my last name and part of my birthday.  So, this email address made sense all through high school, and I used it as a backup email in college.

Dad died the week I graduated college, and then the email address became something else entirely to me.  It became a reminder of him and a little wave from my past as his daughter.

The years have worn on, obviously.  AOL is LONG past its prime.  #understatementoftheyear  And yet, I love my little AOL email.  I do.  Even when I have to spell out the first letters of my maiden name to someone over the phone.  Even when I get made fun of for still using an AOL account at all.

Years ago, I did set up a gmail account with my married name, and I also use it regularly.  I also have a cookie email and an email connected to Immerse/Walk for the Waiting.  Not to mention Facebook, two Instagram accounts and even a SnapChat account that I only ever use for the fun filters, so there are no shortage of ways to get ahold of me, per the norm of 2017.  Clearly I have evolved past my one little AOL email.

But I never moved past the love.  Though I have certainly accepted and grieved my father's death, it never stops being part of me, and his legacy of love for Christ and our family lives on in my own life and my own family.  Being raised by him (and my wonderful mother) is a gift far beyond anything I could have ever asked for.  While certainly not perfect, our family was loving and equipping, and I am still reaping all of the benefits that entails.  Now that I am up close to the world where families do not look like that, I can more fully appreciate and rejoice in the childhood I was given where love and security were the norm.

As an adult now 14.5 years past this loss, I am surprised at the things that remind me of my dad.  In the fall, it's often candy corn.  He loved candy corn, but he was very clear to communicate that it had to be Brach's.  All other "Candy Corn" was only a pale, useless imitation, and to this day, I never buy or consider eating any other brand.  Dad also loved orange slice candy, and I remember the crinkle of the clear plastic bag as he would retrieve it from it's hiding place on top of the refrigerator.  I did not inherit a love of orange slices, but I do also hide candy strategically around my home, so there's that.

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Now that my original email address is more than 20 years old, I think I'm just gonna keep on keeping on with it.  It has weathered so much of life right along with me and deserves to stand beside me though AOL may be sold again and again.  Most times I type it, I remember my dad, and I'm thankful for the man that loved me so well.  I wish wish wish I could email him with a long list of questions and exclamations about life, and I long for the day when we will be reunited in Heaven.  When death will be beaten and tears will be no more.

Until then, I'll hold on to hope for that glorious future and candy corn in this glorious present.

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