Best Memory Ever

Today I’m sharing an emotional memory, a memory that I recalled while working on my WIP. For me, connecting with my past feelings can really open up my writing by connecting emotions with my characters.

I received my best Christmas present years ago.

My father went to Chicago on business the week before Christmas. He bought a fake-fur-lined hat that had ear flaps, along with a pair of gloves, and a heavy coat for the trip. It’s the only business trip he ever took, and I was a devastated five-year-old Daddy’s girl when he left the house in a taxi. I’d never seen a taxi before that night.

My mother had to have earned sainthood that week. All I did was ask how long until Daddy got home. I used to run out of the house when my dad drove in the driveway, home from work. He’d pick me up, ask what was for dinner, and carry me up the four stairs to the front door. Every day he was gone, I waited for him to drive up the driveway. My mother and I baked Christmas cookies for him. A lot of cookies, a batch everyday he was away. Amazing, I didn’t eat any of them. I saved them all for him.

Finally THE DAY arrived. Because my mom didn’t drive, friends took us to the airport to pick him up, so we didn’t have to wait for a taxi to return him to us. I don’t remember much about the airport, except my mom’s hand squeezing my hand like hers was a vise. There were so many people hurrying, crying, laughing, and kissing that she was probably afraid I might get separated from her and lost. And there was a big Christmas tree with lots of wrapped presents under it. An attractive nuisance for a five-year-old who was there to meet her father.

Back then, the planes landed on the tarmac, workers rolled stairs up to the hatch, and the passengers exited down that long flight of steps. A rope held back those waiting outside for the travelers.

My mother’s friends explained that my father would come out the door of that huge, tall plane, walk down the stairs, make his way across the red carpet to the outside of the building where everyone meeting their loved ones had gathered. Except, we weren’t anywhere close to that carpet. We were behind all the others waiting for loved ones.

I watched each head duck through the door. Too many people left the plane. I was sure he wasn’t going to come out. I almost started crying.

And then, I saw his dark hair duck under the door and he stood at the top of the stairs, scanning the crowd before he started down. I broke free from my mother’s hand and ducked under the rope, dashing toward those stairs, yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!”

I don’t remember pushing people aside, but I ran up the stairs and met him on the gangway. He laughed, picked me up and kissed me, then carried me to my mother, who stood waiting behind the rope, like the rule-follower she was.

Best present ever. I had my Daddy back.

Your turn! Tell us about your best memory—and how you could use it in your writing—in the comments!

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