I remember everything.
My small feet pushing through the air. Daddy kneeling on one knee in front of me. "Touch Daddy's nose with your little foot." He was teaching me to swing. I reached with all the strength of my three-year old body. Mother says there's no way I can remember that…I remember everything.
I could barely push the peddles through the thick spring grass that covered the little lawn. He was behind me, my training wheels were not. "Peddle as fast as you can! I'm right here." His strong legs pushed me faster than I'd ever gone. I was flying over the clover. When I looked back to smile at him, he was steps behind, waving…smiling through those placid blue eyes. I remember everything.
A legend of high school football sat in the stands watching his seven-year old daughter make wishes on the dandelions in left field. My softball glove was on the ground. A game went on steps away from me in the in-field--I was watching the delicate wisps of the weed float away with each wish. This striking figure of a man…surely those who knew him thought it was a shame he did not have a boy to pass on those incredible genes to. But the look on his face was beaming, as if I'd just caught the game-winning out.
With some cruel twist of fate, the good-hearted coach thought every player should have the chance to be involved in the game. He unceremoniously put me on second base! But…I didn't know what to do! Second grade organized softball has never seen such an inept player…I was so nervous, I peed my pants. I took of to the stands and whispered to my daddy. He took me home, waited while I changed, and unflinchingly took me back to that field. He took his place in the stands and watched me play the rest of the game (from the outfield this time). He never looked embarrassed. He never scolded me. He talked to me on the trip home and back to the field. I remember those kind blue eyes…I remember everything.
Mother's Day, 1984. I was two months pregnant with my first child--my dad's first grandchild. A knock on my door, early that Sunday morning. I swung my feet to the floor, and barely made it to the bathroom as morning sickness had its way with me before I could answer the door. My wobbly legs carried me down the hall, and I swung the door open to see him standing there. He was holding two dozen red roses. "Happy Mother's Day, baby." I could barely see him through the tears. I remember the happiness pouring from him…I remember everything.
I gave birth to a little boy. This man who had been father to two girls finally had a little boy to love. Barely conscious after a difficult birth, I was awakened to a nurse's yelling and my daddy's quiet, but firm protests. I was too sick for visitors. I heard the wide hospital door squeak open, and there were was my daddy--sheepish grin and sparkling blue eyes. He sat a toy fire engine, twice as large as the little boy in my arms, inside the door. He flashed me the full-fledged smile before he slowly closed the door.
My life has been filled with those blue eyes, those grins. Kind words. Understanding when he should have been furious. And I remember every act of love. Daddy, I remember everything.