From Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

A Father’s Gift from a Daughter

The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.

Martin Luther

To successfully raise any child these days is hardwork, to say the least, and it is often both physically and mentally taxing for a mother and father. The fruit of this labor of love may not be seen for years after the child has left home and becomes a parent. There is no instruction manual or book of “what-ifs” that comes with each child when they are born, nor a timetable of what to do and when. Each day is a new challenge unto its own, where success is often marked in fractions of an inch rather than yards and miles. So how and when do we as parents know when we have had success?

My answer came one Father’s Day. To coin an old saying, “It’s not the gift but the thought that counts.” So it was on this day when I was given two craft boxes as gifts from my grown daughter, one the size of a cigar box and the other the size of a large ring box. “Daddy,” she said, “please sit with me on the floor like you did years before.” So we sat down upon the floor together and she handed me the first box. “Open it.” Inside was a letter and what appeared to be a child’s collection of odds and ends. “Daddy,” she said, “read the letter first.”

Dear Dad,

The older I get the more I realize what an important influence you’ve been in my life. So for Father’s Day I decided to give you two memento boxes, both filled with special memories and things I keep close to my heart, things that you once gave me. In the first and larger box you will find just a few of my special reminders of you and times we shared together, just we two.

1. A pair of shoestrings tied with a bow. These are reminders of the hours you spent teaching me to tie my own shoes so long ago.

2. A Band-Aid, to remind me of all the scrapes and cuts you fixed on my elbows and knees teaching me to ride my first bike.

3. A wee storybook, for all the special made-up bedtime stories you read to us all at night.

4. A pack of a child’s learning flash cards, a symbol of your teaching me and helping me through my years of school even when I thought I knew it all.

5. A marble. I wish it was one of the ones you gave to me and I lost, from your special ones you played with when you were in school.

6. A sewing kit and a wee sewing machine reminds me of the real ones you gave me and on which you taught me how to sew.

7. A piece from my childhood blanket that you would always cover me up with each and every night.

8. A broken heart, symbol of all the broken hearts and heartaches you helped me through.

9. A silver dollar reminds me of all the times you gave me your last dollar when you least could afford to but knew in your heart when I really needed it the most.

10. A tissue. This is for all the times I cried on your shoulder and you dried up all the tears because you cared.

11. A leaf; a symbol of nature that you taught me to understand, enjoy and respect.

12. One aspirin reminds me of all the headaches I must have given you and Mom over the years, yet you seldom complained. I know it should be a truckload if the truth be told.

13. A piece of candy, to let you know how sweet these memories are still to me.

14. Last but not least, a photo of my children and me, to remind me to teach my children all that you and Mom have taught me, and to share with them the love that only parents like you both have given to me.

I had tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart as she gave the second, smallest box to me. “Open it now, please,” she said.

Inside I found another note and in this one she wrote:


In this box I was going to put all of what really made a difference to me. All of what it was that you gave me to make me what I am today. But if I gave it back to you then I would have the best part of me missing, which is all the love, hugs and kisses you gave me from the time I was born till now, and for which there is no box large enough. So I think I will hold on to these and share them with my children who I hope one day will understand what a wonderful gift they are to give and receive. I love you, Daddy, and Happy Father’s Day!

Yards and miles of success.

Raymond L. Morehead

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