Wednesday, March 11, 2009

:: Beautiful ::

The first year that I taught third grade, there was a sweetie-pie little girl in my room named Sabrina. On Valentine's Day that year, her dad surprised her by showing up at school with a stuffed animal puppy and a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

And it made me think about how if she's really lucky a little girl's first and truest love is her daddy. There is something so romantic between fathers and daughters. Men always think they want a son ~ somebody they can relate to and understand ~ but then they have a baby girl and they get completely twisted. Around a little finger. And daughters like me grew up believing that their dads are heroes. I mean this sincerely: I believe, with all my heart, that my dad can do anything. I wish I had just a wee bit of money for every time I've thought, "My dad can fix this." A flat tire. A leaky faucet. A broken heart.

When I was growing up, we kept our memories in my mother's closet. A brown shopping bag full of pictures could fill an afternoon. Hot tears of longing and laughter streaming down your cheeks, a parade of people you used to know. What would I do to hold my grandma's hand one more time? To tell my brother I forgive you? And just when I think my heart will break, a picture that makes me laugh. We were covered in mud! My dad was so young! My mom was such a hippie!

One of the pictures, in one of those bags, is my school picture from 6th grade. I was eleven years old when that picture was taken, and I was so homely. So homely. I was all home perm frizz. I was all freckles and unkempt brows. I was all braces and chubby cheeks. I love that picture because I can see in that girl's eyes and in her smile that she had no idea that she was not pretty.

This little music box is the present my dad gave me at Christmas that year. When you wind the bottom, the music plays and she spins and spins. The song? Most Beautiful Girl. Hey, did you happen to see the most beautiful girl, in the world?

She's 30 years old now. Even when she's fully wound, she only sloooowwwlllly spins now, barely squeaking out the notes of the chorus before she runs out of steam. In her hand, she used to hold a small umbrella. Both her hand and the umbrella are long gone. But I still have her, and I always will. I have no idea where the checkbook is, and I've never seen the paperwork for our insurance, but I can guarantee you that if (knock on wood) my house caught fire tomorrow, I know where she is. I would save her.


  1. Aw, that's very sweet. I don't think I really had that relationship with my father. He wasn't around much. But it's wonderful that you did. I have enjoyed your musings about growing up!

  2. Your dad is going to love his blanket. Mia, I enjoy reading your blog. It's giving me the opportunity to know cousin I didn't know growing up. Thank You, MOOSE

  3. Mia, your blog does for me what the old pictures do for you. One minute I am teary and the next I am laughing. You are a beautiful person, Aunt Betty

  4. Makes me want to hug my dad right now. Love the old toy photos, Mia. Very nice.

  5. That is one of my favorite songs - because my Dad use to sing it to me everytime it came on the radio (which was ALWAYS on in our house when I was growing up). I can still hear him sing it to me. Thanks for bringing back some great memories I have of my Dad too. I miss him. I have always admired the relationship you have with your Dad. I remember the day the Alameda earthquake hit - he and your brother rode a single motorcycle all the way to SF to go get you. I can just picture the 3 of you on that bike heading back to Ptown.
    Love you Mimi.

  6. Ah, the smooth sounds of Charlie Rich are dancing around in my head! I SO remember that song. What a great memory to have from your dad. I only have a few bits and pieces of physical memories from my pops, but they are cherished as well.