My Parent's Love StoryJun 18, 2023
In honor of Father’s Day I wanted to take a moment to share my parent’s love story, for it is through their union that he became a dad!
We clung to every syllable of this story as children and even now it makes my heart beat a little faster in my chest. We’ve always romanticized their first meeting, teased my father for his boldness, and not so subtly praised my mom for her resistance to his charms.
I’m sure I’m getting some of the facts wrong - their age, the hairstyles, the initial exchange of words but what is most important is that I remember clear as day the look on my father’s face anytime he’s recounted when they first met.
My father used to spend his summers as a lifeguard on a Navajo reservation - which is where he had just emerged from prior to his freshman year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in central California. His whole outfit cost less than two dollars: he had on drawstring karate pants, a weathered tank top, and crumbling flip flops but his crown was adorned with glowing golden locks that brushed past his collar bones - side note, his refusal to cut his hair led to him being omitted from his Catholic high school year book, an act of rebellion we’ve always relished in.
My mother had recently graduated from the same university and she was managing the student union. True to form she was dressed to the nine in a suit, pantyhose, heels, perfectly coiffed raven hair, and scarlet red lipstick. They couldn’t have been more different.
It was orientation in the quad and my mother was bustling about ensuring that everything was flowing smoothly and that new students were being shepherded through the class registration process with ease. My father was with one of his friends comfortably reclined beneath a shady tree on the opposite end of the quad when the crowd of eager young students parted and he saw my mother standing there. Leaving his friend without a word, he sprang up and cut diagonally across the square, fixated with dishonorable intent on my mother.
With his heart in his mouth he blurted, “you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
Which earned him a brusk upwards glance and little else from her.
I’m not sure how many times he asked before she agreed to go out with him, but from what I’ve gathered he was relentless in his certainty that she was the girl for him.
Theirs is a love story born of his persistence, dedication, generosity, and a profound sense of trust in the intuition of his heart- all qualities that served as the foundation of him being not only a deeply loving husband but also an extraordinary father to me and my three siblings.
So today and every day I celebrate the man who raised us, who calls us multiple times a week, sends us photos of flowers, waves, and artwork, YouTube links to Grateful Dead shows he attended in his teenage years, and cuttings of succulents for us to grow. Cheers to the man who taught us how to surf, to regard nature with a holy reverence, take our time when enjoying a meal, and to look earnestly into the eyes of whomever we speak with.
And finally, I wanted to take a moment to voice my appreciation for a man who loved a woman, who made her his wife, and with her created a family and a whole reality.
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