On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.
Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.
Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.
There were moments over the next 20 years when I glimpsed the dad I adored as a young child. Moments when shared interests collided with a time created opportunity.
He was always helping someone else. But on occasion I would tag along. I got involved in building a shed for a friend of his, a greenhouse for an uncle, church hall renovations and the one I loved most – helping out, with my dad, on the veg stall at the Annual Christmas Fair. I can smell the old wooden hall now, just thinking about it. A smell of old dry, warm wood, mingled with a hint of musty old fabric.
Funny how those old wooden buildings had such a nurturing atmosphere. The original wooden building has now been replaced with a brick one and fewer people use it. Where I live now, we still have an ancient wooden village hall; they call it a community hall here. It smells very similar to the ones of childhood. Everyone appreciates it and its unique aromas create an ambiance that seems to attract a list of regular events going on there.
Other times I would help with watering the plants. This meant filling up a large bucket and a metal watering can with water from the kitchen sink tap and staggering down the garden one in each hand, trying not to spill any. He used to do this twice a day in the summer months.
If there was a drought we would save all the washing up water and whenever anyone had a bath, we had to scoop out as much water as possible to water to fill the buckets and stagger gingerly down the stairs, through the house and down the garden path to water the thirsty plants.
I learned how to take cuttings, dibble out young seedlings and look after the growing crops. These moments of joy, cherished memories, I have come to appreciate more as I have shared them with my own son.
But it took over 20 years before I felt the unconditional love of my dad again.
It took the death of my mother.
I never got on with her, she was a narcissist through and through. It wasn’t long after she died that my dad seemed more open – as if a barrier had been removed, or a veil been lifted.
I could see him, really see him again. I could feel love pour from him. Even his eyes were more alive. He was much more fun and loved to play with my young son. His sense of humour was priceless.
Up until then I had not realised just how much my mother’s presence had supressed my dad. She was so devious and manipulating he must have been under an immense pressure most of the time. No wonder he spent his spare time down the garden, out of sight, involved in an important project or helping out other folk. He missed her of course. Who wouldn’t, they had been together over 30 years.
But the change in my dad was remarkable. We spent more time together, he shared memories of his past, little snippets of his life I wasn’t aware existed before. He actively encouraged family get-togethers, times when we all reminisced indulgently.
As I watched his loving actions and sense of fun during the times spent with my son, it triggered the odd happy memory of early childhood. This was the dad that had been missing all these years and I indulged in the joy of having my dad back again, for now, and being able to share him with my son.