My father walks me down the aisle. He does not look ahead to the altar, but rather stares adoringly at me. He whispers, “You will always be my girl.”
Daddy is the first to arrive at the hospital after the birth of my daughter. He holds the tiny child so close and for so long that when others visit they claim he is keeping her for himself.
Three years later, he is first to arrive after the birth of my son. This time he bears gifts. An impossibly small Red Sox jersey and baseball cap. There are promises of evening games at Fenway when my boy is old enough, and afternoons of playing catch in Grandpa’s backyard.
All of these images are fantasy, little fictions I let my mind rest on when I miss him. My father died when I was fifteen, which means a treasure trove of experiences have never been mine, and never will be. This may explain why I’m drawn to novels about fathers and daughters. Simple stories of love and encouragement and conflict-rich stories fraught with the misunderstandings and missed opportunities that are germane to family life.