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post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
My father is old. It hurts to say that. I know that at 82, he hasn't got forever anymore.

When I was little, he held me to the sky. He showed me trees, flowers, clouds. He taught me about love, tolerance, and forgiveness. When I was little, he was huge. He ran the world, and my world revolved around him. When he'd leave to go on a shoot, I'd be forever at the window, waiting for him to come home, to come back.

He has always given me so much, financially but mostly emotionally, supporting me through some of the toughest times I've ever seen. He doesn't understand depression, but he understands me. He also doesn't care about my depression, but cares the world for me. I think it's safe to say I adore him, and I know he adores me.

So this year, despite many obstacles and much difficulty for me recently, I wanted to do something very special for his birthday; something to show him I care about him as a man, not simply as my father. Something to show him I'd be his friend if I wasn't his daughter. Something to give him an understanding that I love him beyond measure.

I looked around, hunted things up and down the city. I searched my heart and soul, and couldn't figure out what to give him. And then it struck me; he's a huge Lakers fan. I mean huge. I remember when I was a little girl, I'd watch him yell at the referees, and wonder if they could hear him - he was so certain he was right in the call, and the refs were wrong. He'd rant and rave, shouting "get your glasses, you moron! Stupid zebra! Damned idiots they've got reffing." I'd turn to my mom, and ask why he was mad, and she'd explain to me that he was just playing the game in his mind. He was there with the team, throwing the baskets, fighting each other, winning and losing right along with the guys who were playing. But he never took himself to a game, and hasn't been to the Staples Center ever.

So, after much scrambling, wheeling and dealing, I was able to acquire some tickets to last night's Lakers/Clippers game. It took a lot of doing, calling in favors from someone, and finagling, but I did it. I purchased a nice sweatshirt with the Lakers logo, taped the tickets to the front of it, and told him to come to my house at 5. Sure enough, he was there promptly at 5, and opened his gift.

When he realized that the dangling tags were actually tickets, his jaw dropped. He got to his feet, and looked at me. "Really? They're real? For tonight?" I was as proud as I've been in a while - surprising Dad with that, seeing his face accept the reality was amazing and wonderful and joyous.

We went to the game, driving through a dark and lovely downtown Los Angeles, and got some food from the vendors there. Gross stadium food, but it was about the game, and it was the ambiance. We found our seats, and sat, looking around a fairly empty arena, and realized that while Dad was a Lakers fan, this was a Clippers home game. We had Clippers fans surrounding us as game time approached. The row behind us was especially rabid, and very funny in their comments. Rude, but funny. Dad was laughing, and playing along. I let it be known that it was his birthday, and they promised, out of respect for him, that they would not "go Detroit" on us...that we'd be safe after the Lakers lost.

The game progressed, and it was rowdy. We were chanting, screaming, yelling. Dad was having the time of his life, hollering invectives at the referees, and standing up and waving his arms around. We even got going with a counter chant....the Clippers fans would scream "way to go, Clippers, way to go" and in the downbeat, Dad and I could be heard hollering "Clippers suck!" Every time this went on, people around us laughed and hollered along with us. We ate ice cream, drank beer, and chewed on popcorn, me with my camera and he with his passion, and we had a most excellent time.

It was a tight game, 89/87 Lakers, and as we left the stadium, I realized I had made my father very happy; but it wasn't the gift. It wasn't the Lakers in person, or the popcorn, or the shouting. What it was was that I was with him, that he was with his daughter, and that I was sharing time with him.

It was simple, really. Being with him made him happy. Being in his sight made him smile. Being near him, hugging him, made him remember he was the most important person right then to me. And so the gift wasn't something material, although that was appreciated. It was time, hours of time, private time in the midst of nearly 20,000 other people, that made him happy.

Simply time.

And so, as the holidays grab us and choke us, filling us with worry about the perfect gift; as the days fly by, one after the other towards Christmas and New Year's....as this time gets short and taut with pressure and stress, remember this: the best gift, the only one which matters in the long run, is time spent with those who are special and important to you. Time, that most precious commodity, that we spend so rashly, so insignificantly, on things which don't matter....

Time. In the end, the gift of Time is what will be remembered, what will be cherished, what will be loved beyond all else. The perfect gift. Time.

post #2 of 9
Michele, this is so very true! Thank you for this reminder! I know this is precious time that you and your Dad will forever cherish!
post #3 of 9
Bravo, Michele! Lovely. Cherish every moment -- though I obviously don't need to say that, for it's clear that you do, and that you have been blessed with a great relationship with your Dad. Me, too. So I read your piece with very special tears. Thanks.
post #4 of 9
You are a very lucky person to share this time with your father.
and he is a very lucky man to have a daughter like you.
post #5 of 9
What a wonderful story. You and your dad shared something very special - you sound like a special daughter too. I bet your dad is very proud of you.
post #6 of 9
Very true, and how lucky you are to have a loving and wonderful father. And how lucky to be able to spend that special time with him. Good for you!!
post #7 of 9
That is all so true - I feel the same way about my Mom especially. I am so sad I can't be home this Christmas (I am teaching so can't get away till the end of the semester in January) as she and my Dad are both now 90 and I feel every Christmas that this may be the last one. I know just how lucky I am that I still have them, I am the only one of my contemporaries with both parents alive, and we must treasure every moment possible.
post #8 of 9
This is so true. Both my parents, and my only sibling, my brother, have passed on, and I know that when we do remember gifts it is only because of the caring they demonstrate. When parents go, they leave a hold that is never filled.
post #9 of 9
I am crying~ This is lovely and so true! My wonderful friend Jeff has given me several gifts of time:
This past February, after my ileostomy reversal, he drove 10 hours from VA to come to GA to build me a raised bed so that I could plant an herb garden. My present from him this year is that he is building a cold frame for me and will drive again, 10 hours, to bring it to me. (Or else he will come and build it here.....not sure).
I would rather he give me time than all of the jewelry, perfume, etc. in the world.
(He is a good friend, purely platonic.)
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