Really, it’s the little things in life that I remember most. At least, so far. I guess I should say “cherish most”. I remember big things and little things, I guess it’s the little things that other people wouldn’t expect me to remember, that I remember.
I can’t recall why, but for some reason everyone but me was out of town on a weekday. And my dad. He had to work, and I had to work, but we each had a break for lunch. My dad asked me if I would like to go somewhere on my break, and I said sure. I looked forward to this meeting all day. I hadn’t gone out to lunch for ages, and rarely, if ever, with my dad! This would be fun. He arrived to pick me up a little after 12:00 and knowing that he liked burgers and fries more than submarine sandwiches, we both agreed that Hardee’s would be a good choice for lunch. My dad said “if you’re sure you can find something” and I said I could. At this point I had been dealing with my eating disorder for a few years, and I was doing well. I knew what I was expected to eat, and tried to stick to my goals. We drove the few blocks to the fast food place, and ordered. I remember getting a chicken wrap basket and fries with a drink. Somehow, between the conversation and prospective guilt at throwing any food away, I managed to consume the whole meal. I remember finishing the first chicken wrap, and debating about eating the other one. I did, and I had no guilt hounding me. I loved this time spent with my dad, one on one. And later, I wrote him a note thanking him for taking me out. I think my mom had suggested the treat, but still. It made me feel loved, cared for, and happy.
When I got so sick many years ago, and could not keep any food down. And then when I had no food left to expunge and I couldn’t stop dry heaving, my dad sat by my bedside, talking to me at times, and at others not saying a word. He sat there for hours, probably seeing my misery, and yet unable to do a thing. He saw how uncomfortable I was, how I could not stop writhing in pain and how I was so tired and yet so unable to relax. He saw me put an ice pack over my eyes and nose and lay there, finally able to breathe without my stomach telling me I needed to hurl. And he was my companion, even though I was probably the worst company he had ever kept. And then when I was finally told to go to the ER, he carried me out to the van and buckled me into the passenger seat.
Another time I remember a little thing making me feel this way is not so long ago. It was winter, and I usually had to get up early and go to work, battling the snow, ice, and frost on my car windows. One morning I woke up and sitting on the kitchen table where I usually perched on my wooden chair to eat, was a little ice scraper that my dad had found worked very well. They were sold at a little local hardware store, and he had been thoughtful enough to buy one for me and my sister, who also owned her own car. This little gesture of kindness made me feel so warm inside. My dad had thought of me, and done something to show it. These little things that people do for me, sometimes they make me feel guilty, and I’m not sure why. But sometimes, they make me feel so loved. To this day, I still think these two times are the instances that I consider the kindest things my father has done for me. And he has done so much more too. I know Father’s Day is long past, but I guess this post is kind of a tribute to my dad. He has taught me so much, among these things: a respect for nature, a money-smart mentality, a “work first, play later” attitude, an addiction to Diet Pepsi, to acknowledge the truth of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and a sense of humor that is crass yet can also be laughed at.