When I visited my parents last year, they offered me the red photo album that chronicles my first two years. I was reluctant to take it because it’s a piece of our family history. But my mom insisted: “These are your photos,” she said. “You should have them.”
I’ve been thumbing through the album for decades, so I thought I knew its contents. (Yes, it’s full of embarrassing baby pictures. And no, I don’t blame my parents for the epic sunburns, because sunblock only came in SPF 2 back then.)
But today I saw the album in a new light, and noticed that it’s also full of shared everyday moments — like this photo of my father, on the right, chatting with my grandfather.
Admiration overtook me as I gazed at this utterly unguarded young man. I thought about how much he must have grown up between that carefree moment on the beach with his father, and the moment he brought me home. But he embraced his new role — and soon he was sharing those everyday moments with his daughter.
Even some of the seemingly disparate photos reminded me of shared experiences with my dad. My father was seldom without a pipe in those early years, you see …
… and I was seldom far from the water.
One day our two worlds collided when I fell into the deep end of the pool — and sank. My father jumped in after me, plucked me from the bottom, and plopped me back onto the deck. But in all the excitement he forgot to spit out his pipe and swallowed a bunch of tobacco.
I think it was soon after that my father taught me to swim.
He taught me a lot of other things, too: How to tell time, ride a bike, how to use a drill, mud drywall, and how to kill wasps (“Steady the ladder until I yell ‘run.’ Then run!”). I learned so much from watching my father and working by his side.
And the best part is that I’m still learning from him — and that there are many more shared moments yet to come. So today I say thank you to my beloved father, with all my heart.
Happy Father’s Day.