At the age of 33, I still call my dad “Daddy”, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. After the age of 3, I’ve spent most of my life away from my father. So the little girl inside of me likes to hold onto the ‘Daddy’ I rarely saw when I was young. That may sound juvenile, but I don’t care. He’s my Daddy, no matter how old I get.
The times I did spend with him were few and far between, primarily due to finances and distance. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when your parents live in different states. Because of that, I cherished every moment we had together. I still do. I’ve also cherished everything he’s ever given to me.
When I was very young, he gave my sister and I each a stuffed unicorn. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. We met him in a parking lot to do the ‘parent switch’. As we walked up to his car, he opened the trunk and pulled out the two unicorns, handing one to my sister and the other to me. To this day, I still have that unicorn.
You may be wondering why a simple stuffed unicorn means so much to me. It is the only gift I recall ever receiving from my father when I was growing up, besides a few $2 bills he gave to us. I of course being a child, went out and spent all of those $2 bills, thinking that was why he gave them to us in the first place.
Even the cards he sent for birthdays and Christmases were almost always lost in the mail. So aside from the unicorn and a couple of cards, I had very few keepsakes from my dad. That always bothered me, because one day he’s going to be gone and it would be nice to have something to hold onto.
To my pleasant surprise, about 8 years ago, my dad gave me a beautiful handcrafted keepsake box (not the one pictured above). He is truly gifted when it comes to woodwork, always has been. I had never mentioned to him how much I deeply valued the few things he had given me. Even so, he made that box without me saying a word. Instantly that became my “Dad Box”, and I decided at that moment that nothing would go inside of it, unless it was from him.
When I got home after that visit with him, I ran inside my house and grabbed everything he had ever given me and set it gently in the box. It wasn’t much, just 2 cards and the unicorn, if I remember correctly. However, after he gave me the box he started sending cards more frequently and now there are several of them tucked inside. Each one means so much to me.
But, there was one thing missing in that box. The one thing that always reminds me of my dad. A $2 bill. Thankfully, that changed a few years ago. I don’t know where I was or who gave it to me, but I ended getting a $2 bill. Right away, I knew where that bill was going. Straight into the box it went.
Last week I got something I never imagined getting from my dad. Something that instantly brought tears to my eyes. A text message. To help you understand why such a simple thing would have such a large affect on me, I’ll explain. My dad is very behind in technology. He’s smart, but he’s a woodworker, not a computer guy.
For example, a few years ago I had to explain to him several times what an email was. “It’s kind of like a letter, but on the computer” I told him. When he finally got a computer (still doesn’t have internet), I was so proud of him.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with my dad, but I find everything that he does to be absolutely adorable. So when he sent me the text message, I was blown away. My dad texting? No way! Immediately I thought, “I have to put this in my dad box!” But, how do you put a text message in a box? Ah ha! I could print it out, which is exactly what I did.
I am thankful for the times I have been able to spend with my dad. I am thankful for my “Dad box” and every card that’s tucked away inside. It doesn’t take much to show someone that you love them. You don’t have to spend a fortune or go out of your way. Just a simple love note (or card), is good enough.
This may sound silly to some of you. However, anyone who has grown up without much contact with one of their parents would likely understand. That parent is an irreplaceable piece in this puzzle we call life.
Parents – Don’t let circumstances and distance come between you and your children. Also, don’t just tell your kids you love them, show them. The simple things mean the most.
Children ages zero and up – Appreciate your parents. They won’t be around forever.
And always remember – Love is an action.