Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Loving Dad

Having my dad here living with me is an enormous comfort. He’s a strong man and he’s always been a good and loving father.

Dad has his own apartment above my house but I’m always
upstairs with him so I guess it’s not much his “own”.
This evening I went up to visit but he was sound asleep in bed and his apartment was dark except for a dim night-light guiding my way.  It is 1 a.m. so I can’t really blame him.

In the dark I sat in his worn out easy chair recliner and could see his shoes kicked out in front of it.  On a small, wooden, fold-out T.V. tray table lay his glasses, cigarettes and lighter.  A leather note pad was on the side table.  I opened the pad, flipped in about five blank pages and wrote him a little “surprise” note that he will find in about a week.  It’s our game and he has saved every note I have ever written him since he’s lived here.  That’s about five years now…and a lot of notes.  It’s a lot of love.

 I have good memories of my dad from when I was a small girl growing up.  He always let me tag-a-long with him to the hardware store, grocery store and liquor store. He took me smelt fishing and to the beach for early morning walks and a push on the swings at Cal Park. Dad let me tag-a-long where ever he went and if I wanted something he’d buy it.  I remember some glow-in-the-dark plastic Christmas ornaments I just had to have that he bought for me.  I found those in a box last year.  They are ugly but the memories they hold are just beautiful to me.

I was an artistic kid.  During Sunday Family Classic shows, while mom ironed, I remember making paper moustaches, eye lashes, beards and eyebrows and literally gluing them onto my dad's face as he watched Moby Dick or Treasure Island.  He let me do my thing and walked around with my glued on art on his face bragging about how handsome he looked!  I laughed, giggled and in those moments he was my hero!

Every night my dad tucked me into bed each night saying “Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Don’t let the Bed Bugs Bite!”  He’s snap the blankets way up into the air so they would float on top of me and then he’d tuck them all around my body and kiss me goodnight.  Isn’t that a wonderful thing for a child?  It was.  I did the same for my children and the will do the same for theirs.

Dad was always home on the weekends working in the garden, refinishing our unfinished basement, putting up Christmas lights, cooking or just hanging out with his headphones on – country music blaring in his ears, leaned up against the console stereo unit singing along out of tune and loud. 
Sometimes, when I was a kid, dad would open his magic light brown leather case with red velvet lining and strap on his old accordion.  The sounds he played and the joy on his face made me try to dance the polkas along with his music.  Eventually old 78 records crackled polish music under the needle of the record player, dad’s accordion sat in a corner while he danced the polkas with me in our musty unfinished basement.  It always ended up that way when he pulled out his accordion!

I cherish the memories I have with my dad and since my mom has died I REALLY appreciate every single moment I have with him now.  I realize how precious time spent with him is and enjoy the very smallest things about him.  

In this very moment as I sit here typing this I find such joy and comfort in knowing that my father is right above me sleeping soundly. I know and appreciate, at 53 years old, how lucky I am to have my dad in my life.

He is loved.


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