Parenting: Hey daddy, what'd ya bring me?

September 22, 2011

When I snapped it, I started thinking about what happened when my dad returned home from his business trips. The best part was not only hearing the rumble of his car engine when he headed down the driveway. There was even more to look forward to.

He would always bring us home something. Usually it was just something he grabbed at the airport. But it meant a lot, because even though he told us so many times, it proved that he was thinking about us while he was away.

One time (my father admitted to me much later) dad forgot to get us anything. It had simply slipped his mind.

And he realized this when he walked into the door, with his three boys shouting "Hey daddy, what'd ya bring me?"

My dad began thinking on his feet. What do I do? Do I spoil my arrival and dash the hopes of my three sons and their return-home-surprise?

No. He did not accept defeat so quickly.

Dad reached into his bag of toiletries. He found a small bottle of shampoo from his hotel. There was also some conditioner and an unused bar of soap.

In his voice that sort of resembled a ringleader of the circus: "Guys, this time I brought you something different." The drama built immediately, driving up our anticipation even further.

"Ooh, whatisitwhatisitwhatisitwhatisit..." we continued to shout.

"Boys, I have THE shampoo and THE conditioner and THE soap from THE hotel I stayed in (emphasis, of course, on THE)."

Dad told me later that we reacted with more excitement and zest than we had ever done before. And he brought us a lot of actual gifts in those days.

For some reason, these gifts were even better.

As I was snapping photos out the window of the airliner to show my own children what I saw several thousand feet above the Earth, I thought of this story. And I also became glad that I remembered to bring my children some gifts on my return (a few shirts and a teddy bear).

And I was quite pleased with the fact that I also had a small container of shampoo and an unopened bar of soap in my carry-on bag.

Just in case I forget one day too.

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