I know Father’s Day is a week away, but I’m going to be out of town next week.  I’ll be writing next week’s blogs early in the hopes that I will have internet access on Tuesday and Wednesday, but there’s no guarantee.  And I did NOT want this blog to be late.

When I was little, my father worked at home.  We knew better than to disturb him unless it was an emergency.  However, as a young child, my definition of “disturb” was undeveloped.  Whenever I had the chance, I would go down to his office and sit on the loveseat.  I’d look at magazines that were way over my head, or play with the tangram set (which has since been lost, unfortunately).  Sometimes I’d talk to him, but more often than not, I spent those afternoons with my father in companionable silence.  I know I distracted him those days, especially when I threw one of my specialty tantrums (“There’s nothing to reeeeeeeeeaaaaad!!”), but I always knew he was happy to have me around.

I remember running upstairs when he announced he was going back to work in an office.  I hunkered down in my bathroom, lay on the floor, and cried.  When my dad came after me, I grabbed my knees and pouted.  Despite my behavior, he knelt down on the floor next to me and explained to me, as if I were an adult, why he was going to work in an office away from home.  I didn’t really understand everything, and I still vehemently hated the idea, but I knew Papi cared.  Even after he went to work in an office, I would go down to the home office, sit on the love seat, and play with the tangram set.  Without Papi, I was really bad at tangrams, but this was my quiet place.  It was our place, even though he wasn’t there anymore.

Just recently, I got him a tangram set for Christmas.  It was a calendar that offered a new design every day.  When I was home from school, I got to try some of them out.  I was delighted to find, years after I had spent hours playing with the seven shapes to no avail, that I was now decently proficient.  Papi was pretty happy, too.

That’s not the only thing that I inherited from those years of afternoons in Papi’s office.  I still prefer companionable silence in a quiet room.  I can identify my best friends by those who I’m comfortable “just sitting there” with.  I still go to my father when “there’s nothing to reeeeeeaaaaad,” though I’ve thankfully overcome those tantrums when I find myself without a book.  And, without a doubt, I still adore that room.  My sister moved into there not long after Papi went to work in the office, and now when I need someone to talk to, I find myself in that room once more.  I’ve been lucky enough to have one of my best friends live in that room, not once, but four times.  It all started with Papi.

There are other sweet memories I have of my father, hundreds more.  My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast, as much for the faerie tale that I love as for the memory of grabbing my father’s hand when the Beast burst on screen.  I didn’t have to be scared with him there.  My father’s favorite Disney movie is The Little Mermaid because that’s the first movie both his little girls enjoyed themselves.  Many of these tender moments are my strongest childhood memories.  Luckily, these tender moments still continue today.  I don’t know what I would have done without my father last summer.  I don’t know what I’d do without him now.

In many ways, my father is my hero, but he’s so much more than that.  He’s not some unattainable role model, someone I’ll never meet.  He’s the hero I live with and who I love and adore because I know that he is the same man at home and in public.  He’s not perfect, but he’s my papi.  I don’t need anything else.

Happy Father’s Day, Papi.