It’s great to be posting an actual memory that was made for me. This first picture is one I think I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Here’s the story behind it:
I don’t think I mentioned it before, but I’m less than a month away from turning 30. It’s not an old age by any means, but it’s quite a good chunk of time on this Earth. During those almost 30 years, I didn’t spend much time with my father. I was an army brat, so many memories of my father were ones where he was off to war. Twenty years ago when he retired, he eventually found a job where his hours were such that he left for work at 1:30PM and returned home at 11:00PM. So if I were lucky, I’d say a quick “see you later” when I left for school and that’s all I’d really see of him during the day unless I stayed up way past my bedtime. My father had become someone I only vaguely knew, seeing him just in passing. Both of us aren’t really social creatures at heart, so neither of us made a move to hang out all that much. During the summer there would be the ocassional outing and picnic to a park or lake or zoo, which were always nice but nothing horribly social. There were never really any one-on-one moments, especially since I shared his attention with my two brothers.
Before just this last week, there are only three times in my life that I ever remember having any quality one-on-one time with him. The first was when he was driving me to the Greyhound station to go back to college and he was telling me how to behave like a proper lady (that’s a whole other story in and of itself). The second was shortly after my grandmother passed away and my mother went off to take care of funeral arrangements, leaving my father to take care of the family. He took me to the local hardware store and showed me how to use a hammer. I was 24 at the time. It was such a cute moment that I couldn’t bare to break it to him that of course I knew how to already use a hammer. But he was trying so hard to do a fatherly thing (and he didn’t want to admit to me that he really didn’t know how to properly use anything else in the hardware store) that I just nodded in pretend wonderment the whole time. I think that moment made him really proud. The third time was when he took me aside before I got married to tell me that 1) no matter what happens, divorce is not an option; to always work through our problems, and 2) all that is null and void if my husband ever physically abused me.
All of those moments have stuck with me. Looking back on those moments, I cherish them because those are the times when my father stepped forward and tried to do stereotypical father things.
So this year, he asks me if I wanted to hike with him for his birthday. I tell him that my husband would be working the day he wanted to hike. I assumed he’d meant he wanted to go with both of us, since my husband is the hiking enthusiast. He quickly disproved that theory by replying, “I actually really wanted to just go with you.” I was pleasantly surprised and a little curious. So I agreed.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than an hour alone with my dad before, let alone in nature. We took a nice short (but strenuous and steep) trail down through a forest to a beach. We walked most of the way in silence, speaking only to comment on how beautiful the flora and fauna were. On the way back up (literally…these were one of those rare hikes where the harder part is the return trip), while I was starting to get tired, he became my cheerleader, encouraging me gently: “You’re almost there. You can do it!” It was something I’ve never heard him say out loud before, though I know deep down he’s always quietly supported me.
It became yet another benchmark in our relationship, one that I won’t soon forget. And I’m honored to share that moment with you in this blog. The specific wording on the Pictures to Take Checklist was “friends hiking”. I’m happy to say that in that moment, that’s what my dad and I had become: friends hiking. So please enjoy this rare picture:
My dad’s foot (left) and mine (right) on a piece of
driftwood at the beach–our halfway point of the hike.
We had just finished hiking down and were taking a
break before the hard climb back up.
**But wait! There’s more!!
Aside from this beautiful memory, I was also able to get some other pictures crossed off my list, gathering great mini memories in the process. These flower pictures come from a short river walk I did with my dog and husband:
Spring in full bloom with daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths
As I’ve mentioned before, daffodils are my favorite flower,
so I couldn’t resist this shot!
Closeup of the daffodils. I loved the gorgeous peach color of
the flutes on these.
And these are from a parade I went to:
Rainbows (if you recall from last Monday’s post, I was determined to provide you with more than one rainbow picture, so here’s another rainbow…hopefully more to come next week too!)
I fell in love with this little girl’s outfit! She looked like a true fairy with her purple wings,
tutu, and, most importantly, the rainbow on her shirt with the saying, “WISH FOR RAINBOWS”.
If that’s not a great rainbow picture, I don’t know what is.
This is from one of the floats. Wouldn’t you just love to
attend this tea party? Also, I am in love with that watermelon
umbrella with heart seeds. I think I may just have to make it my
mission to find out where it’s from and buy one for myself. 🙂
What wonderful memories I made this week! I hope all of you out there are making wonderful memories, too. If you have, I would love to hear about them in the comments below. Or if you happen to know where I can buy that watermelon umbrella. You would quickly become my favorite person. Or if you have any rainbow stories or favorite flowers you want to share. I’m flexible as long as it’s a good story. 🙂
Wishing you all some great firsts with friends,