My earliest memory of my father is of us playing on the floor. I must have been about three or four years old and I was pretending to be She-Ra and he was my horse Swift Wind. I would “walk” him all around, as he was on his hands and knees, grunting as horses do. I would wait for my father to come home from work just so we can play this game. This playtime left me feeling in charge and proud. This is a feeling I have loved all my life, just I have always loved him.
Another unforgettable memory is the countless Friday nights we spend together way back when my mother used to babysit for someone. As soon as she left we went to Toys”R”Us and I could pick out any toy I wanted. Of course I was not supposed to tell my mother that the money she was making we were spending simultaneously. Then we would go home and he would clean. While he did he would put on our record player and we would dance around and sing to classics like “Electric Avenue”.
My childhood is filled with our special moments both individually and has a family of four. My dad was always the one that went in the pool with my brother and me when no one else would because it was freezing. He was always the one who went with us on the scary rides in an amusement park.
Then there was the December day we danced together at my sweet sixteen. It is one that will always stand out to me like a photograph frozen in time in my mind.
Whenever we went to visit family, he was always the one my cousins were the happiest to see because he played basketball all day long with them. He constantly wanted to be outside and still does.
But my ultimate childhood story takes place during an afternoon nap my father was taking. He was laying back in a recliner and I was playing with my dolls. I happen to have a bunch of those tiny multi-colored barrettes with little animals on them. Apparently I thought he needed a new do. You can guess what I did. Well when he woke up he went out to our neighborhood deli and found himself being laughed at. When he came home he was not too happy. Apparently I thought I did such a good job I didn’t think he needed to take them out before he left the house. I still think this is funny. He still does not. It definitely makes for a good story though.
Since these early days much has changed most especially our bond. I like to think that after the thirty-two years I have been on this earth we have only grown closer. Sure there were bumps in the road, for instance my teenage years that were filled with bikinis and short shorts and him asking what I was going to wear over them. Or the time I pierced my tongue in college and he lost his mind wanting to pull me out of school (thankfully he didn’t).
As I grew up our relationship was in a period of flux. Now that we are both adults I feel like we are at a new high. We can share experiences, future wishes, and have new adventures together. These are the instances I will continue to look forward to.
I like to think I have broadened his world too. There are the countless restaurants around the country I have taken him to and always had goodies shipped to him for special occasions. There are the Broadway plays that just the two of us have attended, always with better seats than I get when I go with my mother, as she likes to point out. We watch crime fighting shows and I share with him all of the books I read that are based on a true story.
I am not the type of girl that has grown up dreaming about my wedding, should I ever get married. My dress, the flowers, favors, etc., none of that matter to me right now. I only care about the location, the honeymoon vacation, and that only a select few of those nearest and dearest attend.
Among my priorities are the moments I will cherish the rest of my life. I have never pictured my father giving me away but this is probably more because I haven’t given my wedding that kind of thought. However there are exceptions he doesn’t know anything about. I already have picked out the song we are going to dance to at my wedding. I also like to fantasize about my children and their names and finding the perfect ones to honor both sides of our family.
I see how hard he works and has always worked to support our family and take of the home we live in. Actually it is the home he grew up in too and has been living there since before the creation of my family. In a sense the house itself is a part of our family. Our family traditions, the best moments have happened there. It is where our family and friends gather to commemorate, celebrate, and create. It is where my father has spent the last sixty years and where we have all grown up to be the family we were meant to be.
Happy 60th birthday Dad! We all love you.
Maybe this year you will take after mommy and finally get a birthday week.
Let the celebrations continue!!