My Dad Box

dad boxAt 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.

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31 Responses to My Dad Box

  1. I love the daddy box! What a wonderful story and a beautiful expression of how much we really do love our parents regardless of our age ❤️

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  2. April says:

    What a beautiful story. I love that he built a box for you. All the time spent designing it, cutting the wood, sanding, polishing was made from love–with his hands.

    My dad wasn’t much of a present giver. I have a box from him, but it is more like a storage locker. Nothing fancy and way too huge for special things. However, I feel really blessed to have been able to be his shadow when I was little. I wasn’t quite his helper, but I was where he was. He worked hard at work, and came home and worked hard. I had to sit off to the side and make sure I didn’t get in his way, but I was always nearby. I can’t put that into a box, but I hope I will retain it in my head until I die.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I think of all the gifts, the box (and the unicorn) mean the most to me. The box for the very reasons that you mentioned and the unicorn because it’s the first gift I recall.

      That is wonderful that you were able to spend so much time with your dad when you were growing up. He sounds like not only was he a great father, but also a good example to you. That may not be able to go in a box, but it’s definitely a keepsake.

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  3. suzjones says:

    I grew up largely without my father however we now have a relationship of sorts. He is like your father in that he doesn’t do technology really well. He can skype and forward on emails but he can’t send them or send text messages. He tells the grandkids that if they send him a text he loves to get them but never expect a reply. lol
    He gives me money or perfume each Christmas so there are not many things I have to remember him by apart from the tops he bought me back from Budapest. Even when I’ve outgrown them, I keep them in the wardrobe.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Our fathers do sound a lot a like, although I think Skype might really throw my dad for a loop. No offense to him, he just hasn’t come that far yet. Really, I think it’s neat that our fathers are that way. They’re old fashioned and that’s a great thing.

      I love how you still have the tops he bought you. It goes to show that some items have a much greater meaning than what can be seen by the eye.

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  4. DailyMusings says:

    Beautiful post. I still called my Daddy, Daddy until he died when I was 50, so I totally get that. I also treasure the things he gave me- special things hand picked for me. I have saved them all & am reminded of him, at those moments everytime I look at them. Thanks for sharing & reminding me how great a Daddy can be.

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  5. CharleneMcD says:

    Our growing up life sounds so similar. My dad left out of our lives when I was 4 I didn’t get to see him again until I was almost 14. I still have a few things he gave me too. He passed away this past year in November, we never really found that comfort zone that children growing up with a parent has. I loved him dearly but never really could find a way to tell him that without wanting him to say it in return. I guess I put a lot of conditions on our relationship.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Wow, that’s a long time of separation between you two. You’re right, it’s hard to find that comfort zone with the parent you don’t grow up with. My mom and I are extremely close, whereas my brother is closer to my dad because he grew up with him. My dad was there for me, but at a distance. Finances and time were hard to come by for he and my mother both, so our time together was very limited. I’ve never doubted his love for me, but I sure do wish I would have had more time with him when I was younger.

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  6. This is beautiful and very heartfelt. My dad and I weren’t very close but I loved my dad. He was my first true love, and everything he gave me I treasure, especially now that he’s gone.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Your first true love. That is so very sweet. The love between a daughter and her father can never be replaced. It’s wonderful that you still have those special gifts from him to hold onto.

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  7. tric says:

    My Dad was magic. I write about him often because that is my only interaction with him now. He died over 25years ago at 52. I miss him every day in some small way. I’m glad you take the time to appreciate your Dad.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Magic. What a terrific description. I know exactly what you mean by that. That’s a long time ago, but it’s obvious that he’s still with you. His legacy has carried on in you.

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  8. Jenna Dee says:

    What a lovely post, thank you for sharing your story with us. It certainly reinforces that human connections and emotions are far more valuable to us than wealth or success. Love to you from Jenna

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  9. You are an adorable child. I understand your dad box. I have a dad “cabinet”. After my father passed away I filled it with things that meant much to me. And it is full of memories of him. I love that your dad box was made just by him, for you. His touch is all through that box. His breath has been absorbed by that wood. Beautiful treasure. And a great message.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you. A dad cabinet is just as good. The memories within have so much meaning. I love this – “His breath has been absorbed by that wood.” That just added so much more meaning to it. His breath, forever. Thank you for that.

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      • 🙂 You’re welcome. I can imagine how your dad felt making that for you. I had just made ‘treasure boxes’ for my loved ones this past Christmas and was very conscious of what I was putting in to that box. I bet he felt the same way. 🙂

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  10. Sounds beautiful to me, not silly.

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  11. Cindi says:

    Beautiful, honest, and touching words.

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  12. battymatilda says:

    I am 34, and I still call mine daddy. Because, at the end of the day that’s what he’ll always be not to me, not the dignified sounding “father” or the cool hip “dad”, but the forever endearing, if slightly embarrassing, at times, but always protective of his little girl – daddy. Thank you for saying so eloquently what little girls everywhere feel.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Forever endearing, yes that’s exactly what ‘daddy’ is. No other name can compare to its meaning. We’re little girls no matter how old we get, aren’t we? That’s part of what makes our relationship with them so special.

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  13. Hi, best wishes to your dad and you. I am crying reading this.

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