Grace – Fully

My parents were married on October 15th, 1955. Four days later my father would return home to their Chicago apartment with half a cake from the local bakery and reveal to my mother that it was his 24th birthday.  From that day, October 19th was always special in our household.

My father has been gone ten months and twelve days now and not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of him. I’ve collected countless pennies in a penniless world, I have dreamed of him, heard his voice and more times than I care to share, I’ve had to remind myself that he’s no longer here. At least not physically.

The gifts that he gave us were plentiful; his examples of love, loyalty and his ability to treat every stranger as the friend he hadn’t yet met were traits we came to take for granted – kindness was his way.

The lessons he taught me were plentiful, but one that resonates is when I was just 16 years old.  We lived by the Arabian Sea and my brother and I returned from our strict Kuwaiti school, traded our school uniforms for bathing suits and headed to the pier where my cousin and her boyfriend, who happened to be a Kuwaiti prince, would pick us up in his speedboat for an after-school treat of waterskiing.

An envious neighbor, who had witnessed our clandestined boarding of the boat, sent her little brother to my parents’ front door to tattle that we had left the grounds and were now waterborne.

We returned to see my father waiting on the pier. One of the more frightening sights of my short 16 years.

He scolded the prince and was not at all impressed when his bodyguard asked, “Do you know who this is?”  My cousin had opted to remain at sea on yet another royal vessel, so it appeared to my father that my brother and I were hitching rides from random princes with flashy speed boats.

A few days later the prince called our home and was granted permission by my father to stop by. I was on pins and needles, unsure what sort of rumble was to take place when the prince showed up.

The knock on the door meant the prince had arrived. My father opened the door to said prince holding a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates for my mother.

“Welcome,” my father said. His smile was genuine as he opened the door wide and waved him in.

The prince sat with him for some time, apologized profusely for taking us out on the seas without his permission and left our home with an invitation to return anytime.  I was confused.

Later that evening as I said my goodnights, I braved the question, “Why were you so nice to him? I thought you’d be angry.”

His response was this, “When someone comes to your home to apologize, you have no choice but to be gracious.”

That was all he said.

Lesson learned.

I miss him.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

What a fortunate daughter I was and will be forever thanks to the fact that you were my kind, gracious and loving dad.

About Writestuff

Look around. There's a story every five feet. They tug at me to give them a home on a page...and that's what I do. Tanya Besmehn is a freelance writer and agented screenwriter living with her husband, daughter and loyal lab on the shores of Dana Point, California -- sometimes dreams do come true.
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12 Responses to Grace – Fully

  1. Natalia Megas says:

    So beautiful! I can see why he’s still *with you. Happy birthday to your dad.

  2. Mom says:

    Love you forever, Tanya. Thank you!
    Mom

  3. Karim Farouki says:

    You got me on that one! Full tears and bit of shaking to hold back more that were coming on. I remember the day well and Dad’s lessons always resonate! Thank you for capturing that day so well. Love you Tanya!

  4. Shirley Undal says:

    You are beautiful Tanya. You honor your Dad each day by living your life with such grace. Thank you for sharing. Love you you!

  5. Judy Jacobsen says:

    Tanya, I’ve always said you have a wonderful gift for writing, and anything I’ve read of yours is so passionate and interesting, to say the least. This last writing of your Dad really touched me. I’ve always known what a loving father he was and I, too, miss him. Whenever I’d hear his voice he always made me feel so special, and his laugh..so contagious. I know you miss him, my dear, but you know he’s waiting for all of you to join him in his beloved orange groves in the heavens. God Bless you and yours,
    Lovingly,
    Aunt Judy

  6. Maureen says:

    I remember this story. Forgiveness is everything. Your dad was the best.

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