You are my sunshine (Part 2)

Part 1 is here but other than the subject, there isn’t really much of a thread connecting these two posts.

It’s weird how different life is to my expectations of what it would be. Some of my earliest memories, of times that made me who I am as a person, are memories of my father. I remember when I was a baby, he would sing to me, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” I didn’t know where the song came from or anything about it other than my father sang it to me. It made me happy and helped me to fall asleep, even though it is a weird sad song, if you actually think about it. (Please don’t take my sunshine away?) But my father’s voice soothed me.

My father would tuck me in every night… walking around the bed, he’d tuck the blankets in, then kiss me goodnight, and for some reason I do not understand, Jerome the toddler assumed that he, the Daddy, the protector, would be the last to go to sleep, so whenever he said goodnight, I’d respond with, “Say goodnight when Mommy’s sleeping”, meaning that he should come back and say goodnight again once my mother had fallen asleep. Both my parents found this response endearing and amusing. They even tried explaining to me that he was the first to fall asleep but I wouldn’t have it. And in winter, as he tucked me in he’d always say, “Warm as toast”. Somehow his words warmed me. Even if I was cold, his words were enough for me to feel comfortable, warm and safe.

When I grew up, all I wanted was to have a son and emulate my father. I recalled my own special memories of my Dad and somehow, in naivete, thought that I would sing “You are my sunshine” to my baby son just as he did and tuck him in just the same, and that my son would feel just what I felt. But it doesn’t work like that.

I tried to sing to him when he was a baby, but it didn’t feel right. And when I tuck him in, I can’t use my father’s words because they are his words, not mine, and it would be alien for me to say “warm as toast”.

It took me a long time to figure out, but my special memories of my Dad are my memories, my experiences, and Josh will have his own memories, his own experiences that have meaning to him, and I can not force anything. I cannot impose such things on him. All I can do is love him and cherish him, and be there for him as my Dad was for me. I wasn’t always the best father, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better over the years and I hope that Josh will remember me as fondly as I remember my Dad.

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