Daddy Book.

It’s Father’s Day, so I took down the Daddy Book this morning.

When I was little, my Dad worked long hours, and he didn’t get to see a whole lot of us. I know now that my mother was depressed, that it was hard for her to be alone in a small apartment with a little kid, that he was chronically exhausted, that it was a rough few years. I don’t really remember any of that. I was too little.

But I do remember waking up in the mornings and running to the kitchen table to see what was there. That was how mornings started. Milk and juice and toast and the Daddy note.

daddy book

They’re all in a scrapbook now, pages and pages and pages. Some are scrawled haphazardly, some are gorgeously rendered in detail — Big Bird and Danny the Dinosaur and Peter Pan and Nate the Great, cartoons from whatever books I was reading or Disney movies I was allowed to borrow from the library.

I can imagine it now, from his perspective — what it must have been like for my Dad to wake up so early, day after day. To get dressed and sneak to the kitchen, the whole house asleep. To spend a few minutes composing those notes, drawing and doodling in the quiet breath of the morning, hoping that a cartoon Minnie Mouse or Donald Duck was enough to say I love you and mean it.

So many people have stories about their parents never telling them that they loved them. I have an entire scrapbook. Tangible, hard physical evidence that my Dad loves me. I’m lucky. I’m so, so lucky.

During the divorce, a lot of stuff went missing, and I thought for years that the Daddy Book was gone. Maybe it was too hard for my mom to see it. I can see now how many of those notes are actually for her — some addressed to just “his girls,” some that are just to her, some that reference events that I can’t remember but she surely would. I could see it being too painful for her to have around, but I’m so glad that it was discovered, and mine now. The Daddy Book lives on the top shelf of my closet.  If the house caught fire, I’d run there first.

I cleaned my house yesterday. The kind of deep cleaning when there’s too much on your mind. The kind of cleaning you do with dust rags and Windex when you’re thinking about Charleston and you’re thinking about your teaching job and you’re thinking about how badly your book is going and you’re thinking about how maybe you’re fucking everything up and you’re thinking about how you’re letting some people down and you’re thinking about how there’s too much to think about.

And because I was cleaning, I found myself digging through piles of papers that had been shoved into drawers. So many scraps of paper, so many notes — all in my dad’s handwriting, tucked into envelopes and mailed to me over the years, things like “Took these pictures and I thought you might want to see” or “This article made me think of you.”

Or, “I know you’re going through a rough time and it’s going to be okay.”

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My dad’s not perfect. My dad can be stubborn. My dad can be obstinate. My dad can be sensitive. My dad can be critical.

I am describing my dad, but I am also describing myself.

My dad can also be charming. He can be funny. He can be wholehearted. He can be generous. He can be empathetic. He can be encouraging. He can be supportive. He can be loving. He can be considerate. He can be kind. He can be open.

He is that and so much more. So am I.

I am me because of him.

I’m writing this post before I call my dad today, because I’m better with words on pages than I am with words on telephones. (Come to think of it, so is he). I’m writing this post because my Daddy Book isn’t just a time capsule from my childhood; it’s entire chapters that are still being written. I’m writing this because I am aware that not everyone is lucky enough to be able to call their dads today. I’m writing this because for the first time this year, my dad can’t call up his dad today, and today will be a tough day for him. I’m writing this because I love him.

I’m writing this before I call him up to tell him that he is my dad  — and he is wonderful.

daddbybdaddy2

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39 thoughts on “Daddy Book.

  1. We should all be so lucky to have a Daddy Book! And I especially love that you appreciate it the way you do. When we’re really really lucky, nobody will ever love us like they do. Happy Happy Father’s Day, m’dear.

  2. You brought tears to my eyes. My husband is also a big note-writer, but no one ever thought to put his notes into a scrapbook. It would have been so sweet to give to my girls who are now grown.

  3. What a fantastical treasure to own! Looks like you inherited your Dad’s creativity, lucky girl! Thanks for sharing this lovely message!

  4. Still can’t get past the wonderful lump in my throat So moved So happy So grateful that you can see now and understand what I did then and still do feel whenever I see my daughter

    Love Always Dad

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Made me cry. :3 I and my dad have gaps, and he is not too much vocal about his feelings for us his kids, except when he is mad or hurt. You’re so lucky to have a dad like your dad. 🙂

  6. This is simply beautiful.
    Such a small thing to do every day. But it’s perfect.
    I feel inspired to maybe do something like this when I have my own children.
    Thank you for sharing ❤

  7. I read this with tears in my eyes. Wish I had known my dad better and wish he had lived longer. Father’s Day always hurt. Thanks for sharing your dad with me, sweet Fritzy.

  8. Such a sweet memory. I’ve had been having difficult time with my dad since my mother passed away. I wish I could have something bond between us like your daddy book 🌺.
    Happy Father’s Day to your Daddy 😄

  9. I hope to be at least half the kind of man your dad is to my daughter one day. Truly an inspiring man. From South Africa to your dad – “good job sir!”

  10. Pingback: Daddy Book. | echos of reality

  11. Yeah, you truly know what it is to have a great dad. I’m happy with mine too – we toured bars all night recently, and it was a great experience. For me, my father is my friend, this is his most important function now!!!

  12. What a wonderfully, bare description of your love for your father. It was an absolute pleasure reading this and I am sure your father is so very proud that he raised such a warm and kind daughter.

  13. There is an islamic quote that says ‘If heaven is under your mother’s feet then remember that your father is the door of heaven.’
    It’s lovely to see you respect and love you father so much.

  14. I love this! We focus a lot on our moms, and their special “momness”… but definitely dads are special too. And there is just something about the written word, on paper. When my grandma passed, I wanted nothing of value. One thing I asked for was one of her recipes, in her handwriting. Looking at it makes me feel closer to her. I imagine those notes and drawings are very similar for you.

  15. Every word was thoroughly pleasant to read. The weight of the words are very touching.
    /Following

  16. That’s awesome. I would give anything to have my dad feel that way about me.. He sent me care packages when I was deployed but rarely did he ever write a note. Although he played sports with us and coached my softball teams, he really wasn’t emotionally there.. ever.. while I was growing up.

  17. This is wonderful and so insiteful for a young adult. You and your dad have something special between you. Don’t ever forget that. I lost my dad three years ago and miss him so much. I’m sure your dad is very proud of you.

  18. What a beautifully amazing blessing. My dad never really accepted me and we never really had any kind of bond. This has shown me that my baby does have a chance to experience what a daddy SHOULD be. I cannot wait to make sure she gets to go through every blessing in life including little notes sent and left with love.

  19. Daddy’s Little Boy Community Develop to Learn that Children who does not respect parents especially Father, so if you have love your father then you should like this page.Thanks

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