I remember watching my dad in the kitchen from my back corner spot in our kitchen nook. Saturday mornings he would be standing by the stove, mixing up pancakes or waffles, pouring us orange juice from concentrate. In the evening he’d chop homegrown potatoes for french fries, scoop them steaming out of the bubbling oil and place them to cool on old newspaper. Serve them to us with ketchup and homemade hamburgers and a side of salad. My mom made the buns.
When I was two and seven and thirteen I thought everyone’s dad cooked and went to work and came on field trips and wrestled on the living room floor with all four kid’s, two girls and two boys and was strong enough to hold everyone down without hurting anyone – one against four.
I got older and he still cooked but he also drove me to practice at 5 am and mostly quietly tolerated the string of boys (some of whom I would not want my daughter’s dating) who started to drive me home. I was 18 and in university when I got sick with mono. My dad drove independent me to the doctor, waiting while I couldn’t keep my eyes open or any food down and tucking me into my parents bed when we got home, too sick to look after myself.
There was a Chinese food restaurant we were at one day, just him and I already on the brink of adulthood. He listened while I cried about something hard. He held my hand and hugged me, agreed it was hard and told me he loved me. I remember.