I have a box of photographs and memorabilia from my dad that has been sitting in my sewing room for the past year and a half. It's been there ever since my dad died.
My parents divorced when I
was little and I never had much of a relationship with my dad. After I
graduated from high school and went to college, I saw him about 5 times
for the next 30 years. Sad, but the reality of our relationship.
finally got up the nerve to go through the box last night, and
immediately felt tears welling in my eyes and a tightness in my chest. I
learned some things about my father that I never knew, or had only
heard bits and pieces about him.
♦ My dad was a
basketball player; a good one. In fact, his team won a couple of
championship games. He was quite athletic and won the school wide
athletic competition in his senior year.
♦ He was an
average student, though he was quite bright. He kept his report cards
from all those years and most of the teacher's remarks seemed to say
that he needed to put more effort into his work.
father was in the armed services and served as a lineman in the army.
When he died, we received a certificate from the government thanking him
for his service to our country. Edited to add: My mother just let me know that the picture in the middle with the flags is my Uncle Gary who served in the Marines. The three brothers looked so much alike when they were younger. My Uncle died of a heart attack as a fairly young man.
♦ His siblings and family were important to him. Unfortunately, because of his insecurities he often felt left out of things.
♦ He was
sentimental. He kept cards people sent him. He had baby pictures of me. Though I never heard from him, he kept in
touch with what we were doing from afar. I found a newspaper clipping
from when I was in college, stating I was going on a mission trip to
Spain. He kept my high school graduation bulletin. He kept the room service ticket from the hotel he stayed at
during our wedding, our wedding
announcement and bulletin, and other items from throughout the years.
sad that we didn't connect more often. He was one of those individuals
who was insecure and unsure of himself. Hence, he just didn't make the
attempt lest he be rejected. Yet, when we did get together, we always
enjoyed each others' company.
I'm glad I do have these
few things. I'm glad that I've been able to get to know him a bit
better through this box. But I'm especially happy that I've been able to break that
cycle of dysfunction and tell my children that I love them, that I'm proud of them and
what they mean to me. I'm so thankful that I have a close relationship with them.
I don't want them to look back someday and wonder if I loved them. I don't want them to try and figure out what my hopes and dreams were. I don't want them to remember me as a box of photographs and papers. I want them to intimately know me by the day to day relationship I have with them in the here and now.