a cooked-up kindness

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(response to Word Press prompt a moment of kindness)

I’m sure there have been many people who have been kind to me over the years but most of them were people with whom I already had a “kindness reciprocity” arrangement. But when I was a kid,l I didn’t experience much kindness from my father. Let’s just say he had his own problems.

As I grew up and had a family of my own, he started to change. He turned out to be a really good grandfather, encouraging my children, chastising them when needed, attending all their functions. He would often stop by just to visit me. He rototilled my first garden. Helped me haul bricks for that same garden.

But what I remember the most when I think of him is the time I went back to college full-time. It was a forty-minute trip one way. I still had one child at home. I felt so much pressure to get all “A’s” I almost had a breakdown. Really. I was in a study group comprised of much younger people who got brave enough to tell the adult (me) that I needed to ease up. “Yea, right”, I thought.”Your parents are paying for your education but I’m paying for my own. Big difference”.

But they were right.

Anyway, on Mondays I left the house by seven in the morning and didn’t get home till around seven at night. My mom was out-of-town for a few weeks. Before she left, she had been cooking dinner on Monday nights for me and my family. My dad stepped in and took up where she left off. I can’t remember what he cooked but I do remember it was good. This coming from a man who was a stranger in the kitchen when my mom was home. And yet he stepped up to the plate for me.

Even as I write, I wondered what made my think of this now when I’m sure there have been greater kindnesses sent my way over the years. Then just a moment ago, it dawned on me. He died twelve years ago next week. Was it really that long ago when I’d stop over  to visit him and his face would light up with love? And was it even longer ago when as a kid I was scared of him? Yet when he died, I grieved the man he had become.

Monday night home-cooked meals, a kindness offered up as an apology. I think I intuitively knew it then although it only came to the forefront of my memory while writing this post. I think now that his kindnesses to me as an adult were apologies offered up in the only way he knew how.

Thanks, dad, I accept your apologies.

(Don’t know what happened but all my custom design on this blog has gone kaput as of this afternoon.Trying to find out what happened.)


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