One summer I worked as a receptionist in an office that was on the way to many appointments my dad made for work throughout the week. He would often stop by and take me out to lunch, always getting out of his car and coming into the office to pick me up. And he always held the door for me. He’s a gentleman, my dad.
One day, a co-worker happened to walk by while he came to pick me up. When I got back, she made a special point to come tell me how lucky I am. She told me how much she missed her dad who has passed away and how sweet it was that my dad would take time to come visit me during the day.
I felt ashamed and proud and grateful at the same time. Ashamed that I had a dad and she didn’t, that I wasn’t cherishing up every single moment with him. Proud that I had such a fantastic dad. Grateful for him, and also grateful that somebody pointed out to me that I should be grateful. And ashamed again that somebody had to point it out to me for me to fully realize it.
This weekend, he made a special trip to come to Utah and spend the day with me in a library doing research on his great great grandfather (my great great great grandfather), Benjamin Brown. We found a goldmine on dear Benjamin and family. Letters to his wife and to his sons. Telegrams. Poetry written by him and by his son. Programs for special events his son had been in. We found pictures of my dad’s dad as a child, of my dad’s grandparents, approximate addresses of his grandfather and of his great great grandfather. We found pictures of his great grandmother and of the house she lived in. It was genealogy heaven.
But what I realized after spending 7 hours in the library with my dad that day was that he was really just doing the same thing that he did that summer I worked as a receptionist: making a special trip to spend time with me. It was a trip that was about 800 miles further than the trips he had to make that summer when we both lived in the same state, but it truly didn’t matter what we were doing, just that we were spending time together.
And he held the door for me.