Surrounded by multi-colored flowers, the scents of Jasmine and rose permeate the air. Heart-shaped candelabras are filled with flickering candles. Music completes the perfect picture. The aisle stretches out before us, beckoning us to begin the walk. I look over at the girl holding my arm. Dressed all in white, she is a vision of loveliness, Daddy’s Little Girl.
There’s something that I need to say to her, but should I stand in the shadows and be quiet? Or, should I be bold and say it. The choice that I make right now will be burned into my memories for the rest of my life. Have you ever had something on your mind, but been too chicken to say it?
The scene dissolved to my little girl saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! Are you awake?”
“I am now …”
“Daddy, what happens when you put shaving cream in a sleeping daddy’s hands and then tickle his nose?”
I looked down to discover shaving cream everywhere. Without warning, I reached out and dropped a huge blob of shaving cream onto her nose. “That’s what happens!”
She giggled loudly and scurried away.
I remember that first weekend as a single father of a 3 year old son, a 5 year old daughter, and a 7 year old daughter. I’m in the kitchen at my friend’s house when he walks up and asks me what I’m doing. I’m all proud, “I’m grating cheese for dinner!”
“Dude, I’m sure that cheese is enjoying the massage, but it works better if you turn the cheese grater around.”
I got a lot of cooking advice after that. So much so, that I was getting really nervous. Then, finally, I got up the courage to make my first dinner! I put it in front of my kids and I waited for a response.
My little girl said, “Daddy, you are the best cook ever!”
I tell you, I make a mean box of mac and cheese. Mr. Mommy Chef!
The following morning, riding high on my great success with cooking, I decided we should go grocery shopping! How hard could it be?
So, off we went. I put my three year old in the cart and the other two rode on the sides. They were so excited! Here was an epic adventure in the making.
With a shopping list in hand, I picked up only the essentials for a bachelor cooking for 3 small children; Peanut butter and jelly, frozen pizza, and Mac and Cheese. I looked down into my cart and I was shocked! “Whose cart is this? Chocolate bars, potato chips, cookies, cupcakes, ding dongs? Where are we, at a junk food convention? Who put all of this stuff in my cart?”
My little girl responded. “Daddy, you’re having a senior moment. You put all this stuff in the cart! I saw you!”
Senior moment? Wait, what’s that underneath the cookies? an Archie comic book? “Who put the comic book in the shopping cart?”
My little girl said “It wasn’t me! I have an alibi!”
The memory dissolved and another took it’s place.
School was getting ready to start again. That meant that I had to do more … shopping. I brought a list of everything that my kids would need; notebooks, backpacks, $300 shoes … “Wait! Who put $300 shoes on my list?”
There was my little girl. “Daddy, everyone in school is getting them! If I don’t get those shoes, I’m going to DIE! I have to have them or I’m going to look like such a dweeb!”
What’s a dweeb? But, before I could respond, my son threw me a curve. “Daddy, I have to go potty.”
“Just hold it son.”
There was my little girl. “Daddy, he has to go POTTY!”
For those uninitiated in the art of a three year old telling you he has to go potty. They’re not kidding. They have no early warning system. There’s no autopilot on the kid plane – that can put them into a holding pattern until your done shopping…
Well, maybe there is a holding pattern… There was my son, holding himself and dancing around. “DADDY, DADDY, DADDY … I HAVE TO GO PEE PEE AND POO POO!”
Do you know how loud a three year old can shout? My son was drowning out the guy on the overhead speakers. And, there was my little girl “Daddy, you’re not being a very responsible parent!”
By now, every mother in the store was turning around and glaring at me. And, every father was turning away and laughing.
Being sufficiently shamed, we were walking, well, running to the bathroom when I heard “Clean up aisle 5” Oh man! We don’t shop in that store anymore.
The memory faded into me standing on the ice for only the third time in my life. “How in the world did you talk me into doing this? I feel like the jolly green giant learning to walk. If I fall, I’m going to crack the ice!”
“Daddy, just pretend like you’re marching on the ice. It’ll be fun! You’ll see. Oh yeah, don’t forget that you have figure skates on.”
With no idea of what figure skates are, I started to march and no one was more surprised than me when I started to move across the ice. When I started to go faster, I got scared and dragged my toe behind me to slow me down. Big mistake, figure skates have a toe pick designed to stop you. Suddenly, I was flying through the air like an airplane. I landed on my stomach and slid to a stop.
My little girl, filled with excitement, skated quickly up. “Wow daddy, you skate like a bird!”
The memory faded and a thousand other memories of daddy’s little girl took their place.
Cherished memories from so many years.
Painted memories ready to be relived over and over again.
Then, I was once again looking at my little girl. I was never more proud of her then I was at that moment. I knew what I needed to say to her. “No matter where you go, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, I will always love you. No matter what!”
Her glowing face radiated the biggest smile that I had ever seen.
Choose your words wisely. Memories do not care what you say or how you say it. Still, you will have to live with those memories for the rest of your life. Not only that, but whoever receives your words will have to live with those memories as well. Choose wisely.
The memories of tomorrow are made from the choices of today.
What will your memories be?
Remember, memories can’t be moved.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” Col 3:23-25 ESVST
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self- control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Co 9:24-27 ESVST