I just miss Daddy so much. I don’t remember being with him. I don’t remember him at all!
My childhood memories are fractured and incomplete like the faded images of a broken film reel. I remember that we lived off a rural road, a beautiful white house with black shutters standing gracefully in the midst of acres of undulating grass. I remember the gravel pathways meandering between flowerbeds rioting in color and the buttery sunshine in my bedroom, the lifeless eyes of the stuffed game in my father’s den and the jar of orphaned buttons in my mother’s craft room. Toadstools in the wet morning grass, a child’s proof that this beautiful, fragile, earthy world stretched beyond what we saw to be real.
In this magical playground my father and I would look for fairy wings, left behind after they danced on the toadstools in the moonlight. In my memories I hear his voice and he is the towering safe haven that every child sees in the man that protects them, nurtures them and guides them. As the years passed we left that magical place behind and I came to know and understand the man that was larger than life as who he had always been. My father.
I often wonder what my children will remember of theirs. Not from the stories told through the years until they are as real as if they happened yesterday. Not the face painstakingly memorized from pictures. Not from the mementos of his life saved in dusty boxes. Not from the traces he left behind in handwritten notes and scattered recordings.
I wonder what their film reels will hold.
Will they remember the deep timbre of his laugh and the smile that teased the corner of his lips and erupted in a passion for life that made his death that much more senseless? Will they remember his strength and his love? Will they remember racing to the door when he returned from a long bike ride? Will she remember the messy, lopsided ponytails and Sunday morning snuggles? Will he remember racing around the couch with a football and washable tattoos? Will they remember the tickle of his chin on their necks? Will they remember that last Father’s Day? Will they remember the father he was and that he will always be?
Or will they remember a stone in the grass and balloons in the air?