There was a time that I considered myself…a Daddy’s Girl. I adored my Father and thought the world of him. My fondest memory, and oldest memory, is being on his shoulders and he took me to my grandmother’s house to be cared for while he and my mom worked.
I remember it was a cold day and he had me and my sister, one in each arm, and carried us up the five stairs to her front door. I wrapped around him to keep balance.
That was safest place in the world to me. Nothing could hurt me as along as I had my Daddy. He was strong and smart and superhuman. He was one of the funniest people I had ever come across, and could be arrogant to the point you didn’t want to ever speak to him again.
But this memory, this now 30-year-old memory, I fight to remember as I continue to age. I struggle to remember his voice sometimes. I force myself to remember the minutia about him: his smile, his skin tone, his eye color. I feel like I am losing him all over again when I can’t remember right away.
There are times now where I look at my husband…and I desire to weep. I want to tell him to keep taking care of himself. I want to tell him how in raising girl-children, you have to have a surgical touch: have the greatest impact with least amount of pain.
I want to tell my oldest that at her age, and see myself at her age, thinking that in seven years you won’t have a Dad.
I fight back fearful, hot tears to remind myself that my husband is not my father. But my father was a husband. I remind myself that the memories I create with my husband do no supplant the ones I fight to keep, regain and hold on to as time passes.
I think of the little girl, with her hands outstretched looking for the strength of her father to carry her a little further. The same girl that needed his hand to take her to kindergarten, and be with her as she opened the big brown door to that brave new world.
I think of her, as I am her, and remember that she is allowed to remember him as he was…not as he will become.
In that, I keep his memory cherished and perfected…because the safest place in this world, is still on his shoulders.