A memory I'd like to relive

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 11: A memory you'd love to relive. 

I'm going to take the route of a total cheese ball and rhapsodize about a small, ordinary event that occurred a few times over the course of my early elementary school days, but still brings a warmth to my heart as an adult.

Up until my parents' separation and the subsequent heartache that followed, I was living in a beautiful fairy tale. We lived in a gorgeous home that my mom and dad designed themselves in a lovely neighborhood in a small town in Northern Indiana. My sister and I attended a private Christian school, had dozens of friends and close family, and had a childhood full of the wonderful memories, vacations and experiences that all children should have.

But of all those fond remembrances, one I hold closest to my heart involves pizza.

And I know that surprises none of you.

Do you guys remember the Book-It program? For those of you not familiar, Book-It was/is a program from Pizza Hut that encourages kids to read by rewarding them with pizza (and we wonder why we're all obese?). At my elementary school in particular, we all had giant Book-It buttons and whenever we would read a book, we'd get a small star sticker placed on our button. Once we earned a specific number of stars, we would be entitled to one free personal pan pizza.

Everyone needs a personal mantra, and this one's mine.

Being both an avid reader and pizza connoisseur, you can imagine that I earned many personal pan pizzas.

But that wasn't the best part. The best part of the Pizza Hut Book-It program was that I got to eat those pizzas with my mom or dad.

When you're 6 or 7, your parents are rock stars. The sun still rises and sets in their eyes. They don't embarrass you or frustrate you in any way. In fact, their public presence is a better status symbol than any new toy. (Versus high school when anyone related to you showing up in the same building was grounds to transfer to a boarding school in another country.)

This was particularly true of my dad. My dad was an engineer who worked a typical 9-5 job (oftentimes past 5 o'clock because that's what happens when you're very important) and my sister and I always eagerly awaited his arrival home. I romanticized my dad in the same way most little girls do; I was in awe of him. He was devastatingly handsome in his work suits and ties and I still remember the smell of his cologne. Seeing my dad come home from work was like seeing a celebrity at a movie premiere—His life outside of our house seemed so glamorous and mysterious.

I was over the moon any time either of my parents showed up at school, and I felt like the coolest kid on the planet when they peeked their heads into my classroom with my pizza lunch, requesting to whisk me away for a half an hour.

Sometimes we would sit in the grass on the playground, and I felt like such a rebel because it wasn't recess and all of my schoolmates were stuck at their desks eating their pre-made lunches. We'd sit and talk and eat, and I would get all of my parents' undivided attention. It made me feel so special.

I would welcome the opportunity to eat a personal pan pizza with my dad out on the playground again. I'd love to be able to take in his smell and admire his silk tie (I remember some of them so vividly; he always looked so classy), and I'd love to bask in his attention.

And more than anything, I wish I could tell him that I want to have pizza on the playground with him again. I want to go back to the before time, before things got so weird and out of place; before our family dissolved; before everything became so unrecognizable that saying the word "dad" out loud sounds foreign and strange. I want to tell him how much I love him and how much he's missed of my life and how I think we are so similar and how I think I look more and more like him as I get older.

That when I look in the mirror, the eyes staring back at me are the exact same shade of brown as his. That my mom and sister look so dang similar, but no one in my current life knows that my dad and I look like we belong to each other. I wonder about when was the last time he saw a picture of me and if he would agree.


My, how time changes everything ...

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3 comments

  1. Why is it that we only make the realization how awesome our parents are about the same time that we realize one day we will lose them

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  2. Was this supposed to make me cry because it did?

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  3. I feel your pain hun, my parents divorced when I was 4, which didn't have an impact on me, but then my mom and stepdad divorced when i was 16. it was terrible, I never knew saw it coming and he missed out on so much in my life. He was my best friend and confidante. thanks for sharing your touching story

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