I’m writing this at 9:00pm on a Saturday night while some ground beef cooks in a pan behind me. I’m going to have some nachos and here’s why I’m telling you this.
The Smells of Memory
I put our boys down to sleep not long ago. 2 1/2 years old and almost 9 months old. As I’m cooking this meat and checking my email I start to smell it. Then it occurred to me that the scent of cooked beef and the Taco Bell seasoning packet is probably permeating through the entire house.
I know Ziggy is still rolling around because I can hear music coming from his bedroom. He still has a mobile in his crib and the music plays for 20 minutes, then automatically turns off. I know he’s still aware of the sounds in the house because he’s been in bed for 30 minutes and the music is still playing, which means he’s turned it back on again.
I thought maybe I should turn the oven fan on to help dissipate the smells but then that would be too loud for me to hear our 8 month old if he starts getting fussy in the room next to me.
So then I thought…I wonder what Ziggy thinks of the smells he’s likely smelling? Will they keep him awake? Will he be wondering what they are? Is he aware that it’s just Daddy in the kitchen cooking?
My Own Childhood Memories
It was then that I remembered a few things from my own childhood and it occurred to me that just as I am thinking of those things that I remember, perhaps some day Ziggy will be reminded of this very night, triggered by the smell of taco seasoned meat.
One very distinct memory I have is of being in bed and waking up knowing that it was way past my bedtime, but hearing the faint mumbling of the television downstairs. I knew someone was still awake watching TV.
I vividly remember walking down the upstairs hallway and the creaking of each floor board as I approached the steps and being very careful to use the handrail on my way down. When I finally got downstairs, I could see the flickering light of the television.
I knew my Dad was still awake and I wanted to go be with him.
Barney Miller and All in the Family
This all happened in the late 70’s or early 80’s. I’m still not quite sure. What I do know now is that these shows and their subject matter were a bit beyond my comprehension, but if they were on, it meant that I could spend some time on the couch with Dad before having to go back upstairs to bed.
Dad, I’m sending you a link to this blog post and would love to get your take on how this all really occurred, but for now, this is the perspective from what I can remember.
You let me sit with you on the couch while you watched your shows. You put your arm around me and let me stay awake well past my bedtime. You didn’t scold me. You didn’t make me feel like I was intruding. I knew that even if something I didn’t understand was happening on the screen that you were there to explain it to me or tell me it was “OK” or to simply just “be there”.
Thanks Dad. I love you.
The Circle of “Dad Life”
So as I sit here typing this, my nachos getting cold, I keep thinking that maybe Ziggy will have a fond memory of his Dad during those “late nights” when he is still awake but fully aware of what is going on in the house, and that makes me happy.
If he wakes up now and wants to come and sit with me while I watch “A Shot in the Dark” with Peter Sellers that I recorded on the DVR earlier today, I will welcome him with open arms and assure him that I’m there to protect and comfort him. No matter what time of day.
Just like my Dad 🙂