Today is Sunday. The month is June. Today is the 19th day in the month of June. I almost forgot somehow.
You wouldn’t have forgotten.
You remembered everything.
“It’s part of being a dad, Ash. You have to remember everything, or at the very least try your best.”
You always did. You remembered what day it was. You remembered what month it was. You remembered when to go to work. You remembered when Mom went to work. You remembered when I went to school. You remembered when I was done with school. You remembered when I had band rehearsals. You remembered when I had theater rehearsals. You remembered when I had band trips and competitions. You remembered when opening night was. You remembered to bring a bouquet of flowers to each one.
You remembered that weekend mornings are for big breakfasts comprised of scrambled eggs, buttered warm biscuits, plates upon plates of French toast and pancakes, and endless cups of coffee. You remembered that Saturday mornings are for laughter, and planning something fun. You remembered that Sunday mornings are for taking it slow, and enjoying the moment; for heart to heart conversations with mugs in hand.
You remembered to make grocery lists, and then ultimately what we needed even without the slip of paper. You remembered to take me with you on errands, and that it wasn’t just for fun but also that there is never not a good opportunity for teaching a valuable life lesson regardless of how small it might be.
“Now, remember, Ash. You always start on the dry side of the store first, and get your refrigerated and frozen goods last so that way they last longer. Never go grocery shopping hungry. Otherwise you’ll buy all kinds of things you don’t need.”
“Is that why we always buy potato wedges first thing?”
“Well, yeah. And because they’re delicious.”
You remembered what it was like to be a child. You remembered that time does eventually change and your experiences as a child may not be the same as mine. You remembered that there is a massive difference between being a child in the fifties and being a child in the nineties. You remembered that there was a massive difference between being sixteen years old in 1960 America, and being sixteen years old in 2004 America. You remembered that despite exact things, some things never change about growing up. You remembered that children’s feelings were never to be diminished and were just as valid as an adult’s and were to be treated with the same amount of respect and care.
You remembered to treat every human being with respect and kindness. You remembered that everyone is going through a battle no one knows anything about. You remembered that all people deserve a friendly smile and a soft “Hello” as a reminder that in this weird, weird way we’re all in this together. You remembered that your children were always watching you, and to do your best to be the best person that you could be.
We watched. We listened. Even though it’s been five and a half years, we’re still doing our best to be that kind stranger every day, even when sometimes the world makes it difficult.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. It’s an honor to tell the world that I’m your daughter.