It’s Memorial Day and we thank and honor every active and non-active military member for their service and sacrifice to this country.
Memorial Day memories takes me back to backyard barbecues with my dad. Grilling was an all day event, it didn’t happen quickly. We marinated the ribs overnight and they cooked slowly on the grill until they fell off the bone.
My dad would wake me up and I would clean the back yard from any poop that was left lingering from our dogs, as he cleaned the grill and fired it up. He allowed me to watch, but as a protector, he never let me close to the grill. My job was the sides; potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs, and the kool aid. He later trusted me with his secret sauce recipe for the meat. I remember early mornings next to the grill. I got to sit with him before the men gathered. And we would talk. He would ask about my childhood friend, Maxine (the name has been changed for this blog post), and he would ask questions like “is she still with that boy?” And would then say things like, “my daughter would never put up with those little boys, she’s better than that.” And it was in those small moments, him wanting to know what I was up to, and what my friends were up to, that he had my interest and attention. He cared. He showed it in his own way, but I knew and felt, if there was anything that happened that required his attention, I could come to him and talk about it.
He had me go play with my friends in the afternoon after the cooking was well under way. It was during that time that the beers began to flow alongside cognac. It was time for men’s conversation, and I, as his daughter, knew my place was not to stick around. Grown conversation was for grown-ups.
I’m saying all this to say, that as you are spending this Memorial Day and the remainder of this Summer. Look for ways to bring your daughter along for these adventures. The small things. In that one moment, I was learning responsibility (picking up after the dog), getting quality time with my dad, and learning respect through boundaries that were put in place. This Summer, bring your daughter around the grill. Do it for the conversation, and let her make the sides.