It’s a story that gets told often. Middle school canoe trip along the Little Spokane. My Dad was taking the day off work to come with us. I really don’t remember too much about that day, except that he brought his brick with him. The iconic cell phone of the late 80’s. How embarrassing right? I mean not only did no other Dads have one, but he was going to bring it in the canoe with us. Ug, could it get any worse? Oh yes, yes it could. At some point in the trip we tipped. Great, new school, 7th grade, soaking wet. Lovely. And yes, there’s my Dad, middle of the river, hand stretched out above, holding the brick, far from the water, out of harms way. Mortified.
Recently an old blog post resurfaced, “I Finally See You, Mom”. It’s tear inducing and if you haven’t read it I highly encourage you to. I think every Mom goes through that “Ah ha” moment about their mom, what it must have been like for them while you were growing up and what was silently, invisibly, thanklessly sacrificed. And it is bittersweet because we wish we could go back in those moments and give our mom a hug, let her know we see all she does. Tell her thank you, and that we love her for all of it. That we love both our parents for all of it.
Like I said, I don’t remember too much else from that canoe trip and that day. I definitely don’t remember thinking how grateful I was that my Dad took the day off of work, stepped away from his busy schedule, to spend time with Gina and me. I don’t remember feeling bad for him that he had to bring the brick along for the ride and had to split his time between us and his job. I don’t remember saying thank you to him for making the effort and wanting to share in that time with his daughters. Retelling the story always brings a smile to my face and the feeling of being loved, yet that definitely was not part of the story as it played out.
Dad, over the years your constant reminder that experiences and memories are so much more valuable that things has been such a gift. Growing up I definitely did not make it easy to be my Dad, yet you always showed up, even if the first quarter of the game was missed, or you had to step outside to take a call, or bring a brick along for the ride. You always showed up, with pride, love, sacrifice and support.
I finally see it, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.