i wrote this entry about a week ago. i’m not sure why i didn’t post it right away.
my parents aren’t particularly religious, but my dad has gone through several sects of christianity during his life – an interesting side-effect of multiple marriages, probably. he was raised catholic and went to a catholic school and has all kinds of nun-and-ruler stories, he was an altarboy and everything. when my parents got married my dad gave my mom his st. christopher‘s medal, the patron saint of travellers. my mom has always kept the medal in her change purse – she always has her wallet so the medal is always with her. i remember having to go back to aldi’s when i was little because mom had accidentally paid with the medal (which is the same size as a dime).
the medal was one of my favorite things when i was little – i don’t know why, i just liked to look at it and feel it’s little ridges and the tiny broken loop where it once connected to a chain – but as i got older i forgot about it. the summer after my senior year in high school i went on a school trip to europe. it was the first time i was away from home for a long period of time and the first time i’d been out of the country by myself (except for that whole immigration thing, but whatevs).
when i got to the hotel in london, our first stop, i was digging through my backpack, trying to find something – change, receipt, who knows. and what did i find? my dad’s st. christopher medal. he had slipped it into my bag and he didn’t tell me he had done it. in fact, i think he didn’t expect that i would ever find it, but he knew it was there. even as i type this i’m getting all choked up and teary; something about that gesture has always stuck with me…my dad and i had a sort of rough relationship when i was younger – we were too much alike, probably – and the fact that he took the time to put that little medal in my bag, even when he knew that i wasn’t religious and we were never a religious family, really made me feel good. ok, i guess maybe my mom could’ve put it in there, but i’ve always thought it was my dad. when i saw that medal in my bag i think it was the first time i realized that he really loved me – that i felt it, that it wasn’t just words or a vague warm feeling – i knew that his love was real and for always and no matter what.