When I was in high school my dad took me on a date. We dressed up and had reservations at an incredible restaurant. It was The Cove in downtown La Jolla, very upscale.
I recall this wonderful date so distinctly because it was so very rare to get my dad all to myself like this. I think we were celebrating my acceptance to the college I wanted to go to but I'm not sure. I just recall how happy it made me.
You may think...why does a dad need a reason to take his daughter on a date? In our case, it wasn't needing a reason that perhaps made it unique but the fact that we just did not have the financial resources to indulge in such outings very often.
My parents did the best they could, they did a fantastic job in fact, of raising 3 children with a limited budget. Some of my best memories come from dates like this, or tent camping trips.
I still remember this particular date. My dad was so very thrilled as we entered the restaurant and the waiter assumed I was my dad's girlfriend. He thought it was so funny, was so very proud and loved me so much! That feeling of his love is what I remember the most even to this day, more than 30 years later.
I also remember being so excited and proud of him on many of our camping trips as he made fire for our family campsite or figured out how to put up the tent.
The same kind of skills humans have enjoyed for thousands of years. The same skills children watch and remember today sometimes.
Of course, my mom could figure this stuff out too (and often did). This is not a comment on the power of the male gender but since my dad's birthday passed recently he has been on my mind.
It is not the activity itself that we are giving to our children but the memory. They will hold it forever.
It is the love and security that they will remember, not exactly what they ordered or what material item they may have received. It is not how many times you even give them a particular memory but the strength of your love.
If my dad was in the habit of taking me on fancy dates every month this one date may not be so embedded in my memory. So Dad, I want you to know, I appreciate everything you ever did for me - you gave me the best gift of all - your time and love.
The photo attached to this post is of my dad with his beautiful mom. I remember asking him years ago where they were when this photo was taken. He did not recall. He didn't recall who else was with them. I'm not sure if he even recalled this photo being taken.
But I do know that looking at that photo reminded him of his connection with his mom. He felt her love. Even after she was gone from this earth that feeling remained. That is what life is made of.
We always have that connection to those we love. That is the kind of gift that matters. That is the kind of gift that endures through the generations whether you are making a campfire, mashed potatoes or tamales - I will remember that feeling and pass it to my children.