My dad worked 2 jobs much of his life to provide things for our family. The sad thing is in reality all we really wanted was him. Tim recently asked me if my dad had ever taken me to breakfast. I can't remember him ever doing so. As an adult we would meet for lunch about once a month, but as a child our family outings were just that, family outings. We went to dinner every Friday night as a family. We swam together in the summer on Saturdays as a family. We went to church on Sundays as a family. And occasionally, we went to the lake as a family with my dad's extended family.
My Uncle Jim had a houseboat on Saguaro lake. It was the perfect boat to climb aboard on Saturday morning, pack a picnic lunch, get respite from the sun in the afternoon and then watch the sunset in the evening. The cousins had a blast jumping off the side of the boat into the cool murky water. When we lived in Illinois we would go to Lake Springfield some Saturdays in the summer but the water was so cold we would spend more time on the beach than in the water. There was a deck about 20 yards out from the shore and I was so young I needed an inner tube to swim with to make it out to the 'coveted' island where the big kids converged. The best part of those lake trips was the snack bar trips. I was allowed to get one thing—I usually got BBQ potato chips or a Slim Jim jerky stick. The snack of champions.
Sometimes on those Saturday lake trips my dad would take me fishing. Sometimes we would fish off the docks because my cousins were usually jumping around and being noisy on the boat. Other times we would go ashore in a cove while the others stayed on the boat making a ruckus. My dad, from the get go, made me put the worm on the hook—no daughter of his was going to be afraid of a little worm. (Funny thing - when I was 3 or 4 and at my grandmother's house, I found a worm; my brother told me it was spaghetti so I ate it) I'm not sure I ever really was afraid of worms, it was more the stabbing them through their bodies with a sharp hook and watching their guts ooze out that got to me. Nevertheless, by the time I was 8 I was a champ at getting my line ready to catch some fish.
So, although my dad never took just me to breakfast, I do remember those sweet moments we had together as a family and the special moments where the two of us were able to have one on one time building memories. Whether it was helping him with his sunscreen on the boat so his back wouldn't get fried, or fishing for those few minutes at the lake, or even joining him in the backyard while he watered his lawn my dad was always accessible to me if I ever needed him. If he was working he was just a phone call away—but I still wish he would have known we wanted him more than the things he wanted to provide for us.