Today when I talked to my dad on the phone, I was reminded again why I am a daddy’s girl. Not that I aimed to be one, but just that I am one. Some of it is looks – my grandmother had a strong chin, and most of my cousins of my dad’s side and I share it. Ditto for my dad’s dad’s ears. I happen to be shorter than the rest of my cousins by a good six inches, but that’s what happens when you have the shortest brother marry the shortest wife! I’ve always liked the family resemblance.
On the phone, we were discussing the progress they’ve made on the house that they’re hoping to purchase in Florida for retirement. It’s a dream that they’ve had for a while, and with the real estate market down in most of the country, it seemed like the time to try to buy a place. It’s a funny thing to realize that my parents are getting to the stage where retirement is a real consideration, but at the same time, I realize how much life we have experienced together as family and as our relationship has developed.
In South Africa, he would pick me up from school and drive me back to my parent’s office for lunch. On the ride, he’d play tapes – the best were Orinoco Flow by Enya and I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. Once we moved to Canada, we’d spend the lunch hour together the majority of the time. The school didn’t have a lunch room, so everyone went home for lunch. Since the farthest house was about a half an hour by bus from the school, we had an hour and a half break. We lived nearby the school, so we would eat lunch and watch televsion together – at first, novel shows like Barney & Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, but later on we moved to the CBC midday news. On occasion, we would spend lunch in the hospital cafeteria, which had a great selection of terrible lunch food and fantastic baked foods. In the summer, we’d spend the after work hours on my dad’s sailboat – his love for sailing is a big motivation for the move to Florida, where they hope to have water access and a small boat. We’d have dinner on the boat, and stay out until it was dark, which was late that far north! There was also one particularly memorable and terrifying time my dad and I got lost on the boat – we finally found a harbor hours after we were supposed to, after being blown off course. It took me a winter of forgetting before I could ride in a boat calmly after that!
Middle school and high school can be tough on a relationship, especially with some of the harder times we dealt with. When my mom was in hospital for her bone marrow transplant, he and I lived in a hotel nearby the hospital. We had small adventures together – since it was August, we went school shopping together and played in the pool to take a break from the hospital environment. We spent most of the day in the hospital, but even then, it was mostly together – my mom was pretty sedated most of the time. A few years later, when I went to college, my relationship went through another transition. Both parents sent me cards on various holidays (especially Valentine’s Day for some reason), and I loved going home to visit and see both of them.
When R became a part of the family officially, it wasn’t that long before he became part of the family in reality – subjected to the same mischevious humor that characterizes his relationships with those he is closest with. At the wedding itself, there are a myriad of lovely moments together, several of which are captured on film. As the years pass we have developed more family traditions – each year, when we go on vacation as a family, my dad and I each eat a pie each of key lime pie together. Although he’s not much for sweets most of the year, we indulge together and it’s great.
I’m so lucky to have my dad in my life – so glad that we’re close, so glad that both he and I are still healthy, and so glad that we’re able to share vacations and good times together.