I have a memory of being a little girl in the basement of the house where we lived, and my dad building me a cupboard for my tea set. I have no memory of the tea set. I have no memory of any of my toys with any clarity. But I remember how I felt when my dad told me that this object he was creating was for me. It was the action that remains with me to this day. A loving act of kindness. My father was doing something just for me. Not because I asked for it. Not because I needed it. Just because he loved me.
I do not have the ability to give my children a great many worldly possessions. Not that they don’t have anything – they do – but I’m sure it’s not like many of their peers. There are no outside lessons. There are no computer game systems. Purchases take planning.
I have two jobs (one of which is temporary, the other part-time). When the children hear that I am “working again” they are clearly disappointed. And it hurts me to have to be away from them as often as I am. But I’ve been thinking about that cupboard my father made. When the girls are grown and reflecting on their childhood, I hope that the prominent memory they recall is not the time I was away working. Instead, I hope they remember the love and the little things we parents do… just because.