Happy Father’s Day to all you fantastic dads! Here is a little something I wrote to honour mine, who is no longer with us.
I recently read (for the first time) a couple of journals my dad kept in the late eighties. They are full of memories. Some of them I remember and a lot of them I don’t. And I’m learning a few things I didn’t know about him, about my family and about myself.
I learned that he enjoyed recording my sister’s zingers (she had a talent for them, even then), my baby brothers’ daily growth and development, all our doings at school. I learned that he knew the names of our friends. I learned that he missed teasing me at the dinner table when I was away from home on sleepovers and school trips. I learned that, even if he rarely showed it, he sometimes became quite exasperated with my adolescent surliness.
In one entry he writes about how I asked him to bring me back a Walkman from a business trip to Hong Kong. It was the only thing I wanted, I said. Problem was, he and my mom didn’t think a Walkman was a good thing for me to have at that time. He explained their reasons to me (all of them valid, I realize now) but I wasn’t happy about it. At all.
What he wrote next moves me a lot. Off he went to Hong Kong and bought presents for everyone in the family, but mine were the hardest to choose because I had asked for only one thing and it was something he’d said I couldn’t have. Finally he picked out a small black satin purse with a white bow, and a small tub of perfumed body lotion.
The amazing thing is—I don’t remember asking for a Walkman and storming out after being told I couldn’t have one. But I do remember those two gifts he brought back for me. I remember how flattered I was that he gave me such grown-up and elegant things. I used that lotion for every special occasion thereafter until it was gone.
And I still have that purse.