I was in the back seat, pretending to sleep as we pulled into the driveway late after a long day of shopping. At five, and the oldest in a large family, the odds of Daddy carrying me into the house and up the stairs to my room were pretty slim. But that didn’t stop me from trying.
Most of the time, he’d wake me up and send me inside, but every once in a while my little ploy worked. I’d rest my head on his shoulder as we ascended the stairs, and ragdoll as he maneuvered me into my jammies. Then he would tuck me into bed, brush the hair from my face, and plant a kiss on my forehead. I relished those moments, soaking up the attention.
Parenthood has given me a new perspective on this memory. I wonder how transparent my motives were. Did he know I was only pretending to sleep, and carry me in anyway? Did he want to hold me as much as I wanted to be held? As a child, I only thought about how I had to compete with my brothers for attention and affection. It didn’t occur to me that my parents might crave those cuddles, too.
Today would have been my dad’s 65th birthday.
I miss you, Dad.