There’s this box. It sits in the crisper of my Grandmother’s fridge. I think this might be the second or third fridge it has been in. It is currently my fridge as I rent her home since she is retired. My Grandmother safely placed this box within a plastic bag to help prevent it from the elements. You see, as a girl about the age of 7 or 8 at the time, when this box arrived, any girl this age would have ripped right in to it and it’s delicacy would have been gone.
The delicacy that a young girl could cherish and that a material item could hold, was the attachment of where this box came from. When people pass away we often find a memento to hold on to. This is similar as in this little girl’s mind and heart..she was confused. She was lost. She was holding on to hope via this box. You see, this box was shipped directly to her. Many boxes had been arriving from all around the world. A few postcards as well with beautiful pictures and notes. This little girl wanted more than anything for the packages to stop coming and the person to return home. The problem was, it wasn’t going to happen. Not now.
I don’t believe the contents of the box were ever a willpower test. It was a monumental test of faith. Faith that if she could behave and not ruin this precious and thoughtful gift, perhaps she would be rewarded the way she hoped for.
You see, this little girl, when she was just one, had a pretty amazing man enter her life. He loved her Mom and her very much. Though the love story she saw in her eyes and happiness along with memories are not what were meant to be. This was her Dad. The only Dad she would ever come to know. Then suddenly..he was gone.
When this little girl was in middle school and the packages eventually stopped as well as the postcards, she went to knock on the door of the house that belonged to her Dad’s parents. She still after many years just wanted to find him. Her Grandmother willingly took her as she was old enough to make her own decisions about who she wanted to have contact with.
A few weeks later a letter with no return address turned up at her home. It was from her Dad. It was brief but spoke of how he wished he could a part of her life. How it was not her fault he was gone. A note to know she was still thought of. It wasn’t closure but it was peace of mind for the time being. A lot of resentment occurred after that. Resentment of why her birth Father did not want her and what caused the Dad she knew to not be around.
Fast forward to 2007, this young lady now in her early 20’s. Working, moved out, having some rough relationships, and just still wandering aimlessly with “Daddy issues” to say the least. She found some happiness late at night writing on a website called Helium. Most were poems or recipes, but some were advice or factual based articles. Just something to help her get through the late night insomnia. One night, an email came in through the website.
It was him. Her Dad had found her by her published work online. It was brief but sweet. It left her heart racing and tears streaming down her face. At the time she was working full time and had a little girl living with her who she was helping raise. She saw how much this little girl was loved by her Dad and it was just a trigger moment. This box, was still in her Grandmother’s fridge. Kept safe. Sealed with hope. She wrote back, begging and pleading for him to reply. Just talk.
A few emails later and they made it to phone calls. Sharing memories, smiles, and laughter. He was now married. No children of his own. His parents, still in the same spot. Soon after, this little girl who was not so little anymore was at work in 2008, watching a few clients in the salon she managed, when a man came in and approached her. With a ball cap and sunglasses on, he asked her “Do you know what this is?” and opened his hand. In the palm of his hand was a tiny wooden block. A block he had carried with him all over the world and still kept. Just as she had a photo of him at her desk of one of his birthday’s. Reunited with much thanks to his wife, for encouraging he have a relationship with this girl once again. This box still sat….a wishful hope in the back of the fridge. An afterthought at this point.
Fast forward to 2014. The box has been noticed. The memories flood over. This is because this young lady is now renting her Grandmother’s home and cleaned the fridge out. Untouched at the very back was this decorated box. She remembers the reasons she refused to touch it. She would be a “good girl” and good girls get rewarded.
Since 2007 this young lady and her Dad have been able to have short visits when either he was visiting Florida or she was driving through the East Coast. Never as often as either would like. With schedules, phone calls are few and far between. Emails even seem distant at times. However, the moment either knows one will be near, contact is made to clear schedules to spend time together. There has been a lot of loss in that time for both of them. People passing away from both families. Making it all more apparent to hold on to those relationships that mean the most to you as you never know when they truly may be gone.
2015. The box. This young lady, is me. It has now been about 22-23 years since the box arrived. It arrived at this house. I am sitting at the dining room table that my Grandmother bought while my Dad and Mom were dating. You see, he is the only Dad I know. He was there to pick me up when I fell off my bike. He was there to try to get me to eat weird things that I scrunched my nose at. He was there to teach me all about science, computers, and being an over thinker.
People to this day compare photos of us that have made me ask him more than once, if I really am his biological daughter and if perhaps it was a deep dark secret. As much as we both wished it was true, it is not. That does not change the fact he is my Dad. I’m still that little girl laying flat on my stomach poking away at an Apple computer with the black screen and green text! I am that little girl touring Washington D.C. learning all about the landmarks. This little girl is just in a woman’s body but holds each memory tightly.
The reason I am finally opening the box and sharing my journey, I am married with a kid and for the first time in over twenty years, I got to spend a WHOLE DAY with my Dad. Normally we would get lucky to grab a quick meal as his time here was short. I got to visit his Grandmother before she passed away. Then one year I got to visit his Father, he was so excited to see me again, sadly he passed away a few years ago too. When I say whole day I mean a rocking 8 hours! The trip here was short but we fit so much in and just had FUN..every moment was great. Again…we are so alike we both ordered the same breakfast and lunch! Two of a kind in the most unconventional way.
See, most of my Dad’s visits to Florida are for funerals. I guess I get to be the “light” in his journeys here. But what he may not realize is, he is the light that kept me pushing to find a GOOD MAN to marry. I didn’t want someone who could walk away from their child and never look back I wanted someone who would fight to be there. It may have taken time because of the circumstances but our fight became a victory.
So I sent a text to my Dad this week and told him he had (5) guesses as to what was in the box. I even let my readers guess before I worked on this, as I am sure you can assume writing it brought back a lot of emotions. People guessed wedding cake, snowballs, placenta (what!?!), money (I kind of wish), disposable cameras, jewelry, among other ideas…well here she is. What child of 7 or 8 would not want to dig in to this right away? I still wonder now, how I stopped myself. I just know I wanted to be a good girl. I wanted to share this with my Dad…granted..I don’t think either of us would really want to try it now.
A chocolate jewelry box (not sure who would put jewelry in it) with beautiful chocolates- which those did get eaten…come on, I was young. Wrapped in cellophane, tied with a ribbon, and delivered in a stunning box. This box held hope. It held chocolate. It held my childhood. For some reason…this box…never has “taken up space” and been a burden in the fridge. This coming from the woman who has to scrub her fridge down a few times a month and clean it out every Monday night.
I’m not quite sure when I can part with it. I got my Dad back but is there a fear of losing him that leaves me to not want to part with this. I wanted to share this story because of how long it has tugged at me. When I see a child attached to something..we sometimes do not know their reasoning behind things. I don’t think my Grandmother ever truly knew WHY I needed that box to stay put. She just kept it safe and never failed me or thought that I was being ridiculous for wanting to keep it safe.
So, do we attempt to eat it? 🙂 PS, it still smells scrumptious lol
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.