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Time With My Dad

A few weeks ago, my father visited me in Los Angeles. He was tired, weary, and quiet. As his child, I held tight to those fond memories of me as his little daughter, playing and laughing with him. Him being this young handsome guy, who would hop on the bike or chase after our dogs in the park.

It was hard to see my father in his current condition because, in my mind, this isn’t the man I remembered. But in that present, a new memory was building. A new set of realities was forming and I….I was hurt. It was painful to watch. There was so much I wanted to say. So much I wanted to yell, actually.

Yet, I couldn’t. I found myself asking God to lead me in this moment. Asking how do I behave. How do I speak to him? A faint impulse took over my mind and it simply was LOVE. Love unconditionally. As I fretted over money, bills, would there be enough food for the both us to cook and enjoy? This notion of being loved and giving pure unconditional love was prominent in my mind and being.

It told me to let go of the hurt, the sadness of this reality and actually enjoy the man I call dad. And so without fight, I did. We stayed up all night catching up on old TV shows, watching the whole season of True Blood, Ozark, and Empire. We laughed at old photos. We cooked the best New Orleans cuisine that California would dream of. And then we went to the Getty.

My father has never really been one to go to museums, but he doesn’t mind them. I on the other Love them! So I took him with me to see the art and get some good photos to post on Instagram. As I demanded he hold the camera this way and that and focus it here, I stopped myself thinking this isn’t what enjoying the museum is. We should look at art. Maybe he’ll learn something. I then challenged myself to forgo the photo taking and just enjoy this day with my father.

And that we did. However, midway through we both found ourselves on our phones again, researching some of the sculptures and paintings, curious about the history of some the Greek and Roman figures who had kinky hair and broader noses.

We then made our way out to the garden a spot of the ultimate IG photo ops. As I bit my tongue to ask him to take a pic of me, he was already reaching in his pocket fiddling with his phone and telling me to stand back. It was hilarious. As he yelled across the way in his New Orleans accent, “stand righ der C.” I was instantly transformed into my little girl self again and being diva posing and being silly as I heard his shutter probably take 300 photos.

It was like a release was happening. It was okay to be silly, laugh, smile and be free under such circumstances. He got in on the action too, as I pointed the camera at him along with a nearby security guard who offered to take our photos. It was a beautiful peaceful day. A day and a time I will never forget. For my father allowed me to be a kid again and he be a dad. And I allowed myself to love unconditionally, not only him, but myself.