I opened the large envelope from my daughter on Father’s Day. It arrived early that year. Ginny hid it from me until that morning. The card had six flaps in decreasing sizes, each marked with a letter from the word “Father.”
I turned the flaps one at a time and read the personal notes hidden behind each letter. At letter “T,” my vision began to blur. By the time I reached letter “R,” I was openly crying.
The memories we make with our children are not forgotten. They last forever, as my daughter taught me that morning. I read her card a second time and wanted to hold—HUG—her, but she was half way across the country, beyond the reach of my arms, but not my heart, and definitely not her memories.
F – Faithful always to us when we were kids. You always made sure we had enough. You fought for work when you had none, and when you were working, it was never more important than your family life.
A – All the stories you’ve written about us and your experience as a father. I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have a dad who has archived all the best parts of my childhood.
T – Telling me not to whoopser (When they were little, I referred to passing gas as a whoopser) in class. I remember you once took me on your knee in our original dining room one afternoon and explained to me that when I start school, I shouldn’t whoopser in class, because it’s not polite.
I can’t tell you this is my most pleasurable memory—but very memorable none-the-less.
H – Hand holding. For all the times I remember you holding my hand on the way to the bus stop in the morning, and during our walks by the water in the evening to pick wild strawberries, and at night to catch fireflies.
E – Exciting childhood memories. I remember fondly our trips on summer days to the beach or the lake for swims. Memories of yearly camping trips and visits to the “Wild Life Park.”
R – Rain dance. During a dry spell, I remember you barbequing. To entertain your hungry kids, you told us how Native Americans danced to bring the rain. So out to the yard you flew, jumping in circles, hopping from one foot to the other, hooting and hollering, you danced.
The very next day—it rained.
These memories are “Father” to me. Thank you, Daddypoo!
I LOVE YOU,
I closed the card and let Ginny hold me as the tears flowed. Vanessa was out of my
reach, but not my heart, and definitely not her memories.