A childhood memory isn’t as easy to come by as I’d imagined. Loosing a parent at a young age, one tends to have a lot of memories all jumbled together. It’s like the mind wants to take everything from those 13 years of my early childhood and scramble them together in some semblance of normalcy and everything was always perfect. For this reason, even though I’ve been thinking about it for weeks, it’s hard for me to remember a specific moment to share. I remember 1,000 times I smiled in my childhood, and some funny stories about the time I thought my brother was freaking out because the door was stuck (not the word he was using)… but nothing I could really elaborate on.
So, my as I wracked my rattling brain, my Dad’s wise words, which resonated throughout my childhood, rang out: Shit Happens.
He’s actually the first person I think of when I am about to lose it with the kids.
I will never forget his first shit happens lesson. I was 8 or 9, and we were at a state gymnastics meet in Hanover, PA. While this isn’t too far from home, we were spending the weekend for competition, and it was an extremely hot weekend. He gave me his car keys because I’d asked for them… I needed something from his baby blue Chevy Lumina- I have no clue what it was. I walked back into the gym, through the sea of parents, when he looked down at me and said, “can I have my keys back?”
“They’re in the car?” I don’t know what happened, but I remember being in tears as we walked, hand-in-hand, to his car to make sure I hadn’t left a door unlocked to get them. I was red-faced and embarrassed. “I’m so sorry,” I repeated. “Shit happens,” he smiled down at me. I remember he made a call to AAA and they came and his car was unlocked. I cried more.
He never raised his voice or rolled his eyes. He taught me that sometimes shit happens. He taught me, in one act of moving on, that childhood is full of shit. It just happens… memories, those are created when parents suck it up and let it go (yes, let it go… are you singing it, yet?).
Childhood is full of memories… mine just aren’t all cohesive at this moment. I could say that being a parent myself has caused a lapse in memory, but honestly, I think it’s just taking my heart almost 20 years to sort out all of the good from the prevalence of bad I felt as a youth. Thanks for the memory, Dad.