Friday, June 15, 2012

A Memory for Father's Day: Belly Laughs

I don’t remember where we were living at the time. I don't remember what we were wearing or where we had been. What I do remember is that we were in the car and it was summer. I was wearing some sort of sundress and I could feel the hot car seat sticking to my legs. I think the car was stopped because I can remember him looking at me, but maybe we were just stuck in traffic or he was looking at me in the rearview mirror. I remember the sun was bright and shone with that yellowishness that only happens in the late afternoon before it starts setting. I don’t even remember what he said, whether he stole my nose, or even if he just made a face in the mirror to make me laugh.

What I do remember is the look on his face, the way his blue eyes glinted with joy in the late afternoon sunlight and his smile being so bright that it seemed to eclipse the rest of his face. I also remember the sound of him laughing at his own joke (whatever it was) and anyone who has ever heard my dad laugh know that his is the kind of laugh that pervades the air and makes you want to be a part of it. Most of all, I remember laughing one of those deep belly laughs that shakes your stomach until it hurts and makes you almost pee your pants. I remember laughing so loud the sound almost scared me and thinking I have the greatest daddy in the whole wide world and even at the age of probably three or so, I remember wishing that moment would go on forever. And it does in my heart.

And that’s it, that’s the whole memory, but aren’t I lucky to have the kind of dad that makes your first memories, no matter how fragmented, still joyful? Too often as parents we spend time worrying about the kind of memories we are making with our children by planning the perfect family vacations, the perfect daily schedule, or making the perfect home, but the memories that really last and are the most important are the perfect moments that no one can plan. You just have to show up and be available and they come to you and then last a lifetime. The rest is just unnecessary, unmemorable details. So, this father's day, celebrate the men in your lives who make themselves available as often as they can to make memories that never will never leave you.

Happy Father's Day, William Archer!


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