Random Dad memories.
7th grade. Leaving school early, going to a doc appointment then stopping at the McDonalds near Navy Exchange to eat Big Macs and fries.
8th grade. For some reason I had friends who lived with little supervision. My bestie Maria and I were hanging out in AMR with some boys we crushed on. I think we went to watch a movie at this kid Casey’s house and all of a sudden it’s after midnight and Casey’s dad has to drive us home. I didn’t call my super-strict Catholic parents to let them know I was safe..when I got back home, I just knocked on the front door, hoping to be let in. I was let in by my pissed off Dad who grabbed my by the shirt collar, lifted me up 3 feet so I was face to face with our grandfather clock in the hallway, all the while screaming “do you know what time it is??!!!”
Driving. My first learning to drive experience was not in a class or by getting behind the wheel, but by observing my dad from the back seat. I would anticipate when he’d change lanes, make turns, speed up or slow down. I was 15 when I got my license.
College graduation. I can’t think of any other moment that I’ve seen him so proud of me. I remember the staging, then the walk to accept my diploma. My dad would find various spots to pop out and take my picture. He was using one of those green, FujiFilm disposable cameras. I graduated 16 years ago and have never seen those pictures! I wonder if my parents forgot to get the filmed developed.
2011. I finally made the trip with my parents to the Philippines as an adult. My dad has 5 sisters and it was nice to see them reunited. After that trip we made plans to return in a couple years. I never expected that to be his last trip home. A few months after we returned to Hawaii, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. My basic understanding of the disease is that it’s a cancer that lives in his blood and is incurable; his treatment just slows the disease. His newest cancer diagnosis, and the reason he’s been in the hospital for a month, is due to another cancer: plasmablastic lymphoma. He lives a healthy lifestyle and has no history of cancer in his family.