Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making a Memory

The other day, I brought Raina with me to my Dad's grave to help clean up the Christmas decorations and plant some new spring flowers.  This isn't the first time she's been with me while we do this, though this is the first time she's been so much of a participant in the activities.   She loved shopping for flowers (new favorite word?  "PAY!"  Oh boy....).  She loved digging the dirt, filling the bucket with water, washing down the stone, and patting down the fresh soil around the flowers.  She loved the pack of wild turkeys roaming the cemetary (terrifying).  She had no idea what we were really doing.  I'm okay with that, because I know that soon enough, she will, and hopefully, she'll have these memories to look back on when she's older.

I never knew my Dad's parents, my paternal Grampa and Nana.  But I have the memories that I want my own daughter to have, of visiting this special place - planting and cleaning and telling stories.  I have fond and clear memories of going with my Dad to pick out flowers (usually red geraniums), driving to the cemetary (and always parking in the same place by the water spicket), filling buckets, washing the stone, planting fresh flowers.  My Dad wasn't necessarily one to tell stories of his youth, but at the cemetary they came out.  Stories of birthdays, of youthful hijinx, of things he remembered his parents saying or doing.  I never knew my Dad's parents, but because of these rituals, of these times spent at the cemetary, I felt in some small way that I DID know them.  If nothing else, I knew for sure that my Dad knew them.  That they were real, and in his memory always.  That he loved them.  I could tell by the way he took care of the stone that he cared for them.  That there was respect and love.  There were not many times when I felt like I could see through my Dad like this.

Raina will never know my Dad.  This makes me sad, and wistful, and (somehow) nostalgic for baseball card chewing gum.  All I can do is show her the same things my Dad showed me and my sister, by bringing her here and repeating what was such an imporant part of my childhood, even if I didn't know it at the time.  We will pick out flowers together (though probably not geraniums), usually at the same store I always went to with my Dad.  We will drive to the cemetary and park in the same spot.  We will fill, wash, plant, talk.  This is where she will get to know the man that I called Daddy.  This is where I will tell her stories, and this is where we will make memories. 

Our flowers, and and oldie of me modeling my Dad's fire helmet.

1 comment:

  1. Hi A! Your post really touched me. Neither of my little boys will ever know my dad on this earth either. And that is a huge chunk of their history missing. My dad's grave is about 6.5 hours drive from here. One day I should take them. For me, dad is present in my memories, and in my love. While I have breath he is there. :)