My father died when I was little so I don’t have many of the memories that most people have. I don’t know his favorite expression nor do I know what advice he may have given. I don’t even recall particular facial gestures. But what I do vividly remember are solo adventures with dad and they all involved sports.
My dad was a wonderful athlete and he was tall and handsome. He would pack three or four of us kids in the car on Saturday or Sunday and we were off for some kind of athletic adventure. We went without my mom and I never asked why. Maybe it was his way of showing appreciation for her hard work and some free time without the kids. What I do remember was what a special gift to have him all to ourselves.
We lived near the Bronx River and a particular patch froze every winter. When the all clear flag was flying on the weekends, we were often skating along the bumping ice. He was a great ice skater and as a little girl I can remember him holding my hand and gliding me along the ice. He was my hero. On other days he tossed our skates in the trunk of the car and off we drove throughout Westchester County looking for a frozen pond. Of course he knew all the places to look and when he found an all clear flag flying, we’d put on our skates and off we’d go.
My favorite memory of all was the year he took us to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees play. This was the original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with all-star players Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, and Whitey Ford. I recall having such a great time that I became a life-long Yankees fan.
All these memories came back recently when my daughters planned an adventure of their own with my husband for Father’s Day. They chose to go to a Nationals game and who were they playing? None other than the Yankees. I wanted my girls to have some special time with their dad but I confess that I was very happy when I was invited. So this Father’s Day I will be making some memories with my family watching the Yankees play our hometown team, the Nationals. The only problem I can foresee is, who will I cheer for?
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.
Images: Flickr Creative Commons, RLJ Photography NYC (top) and p-a-t-r-i-c-k