I never listened to my elders when they told me that even as a young child you should cherish the moments, especially the moments that you have with the family members and friends that you care about the most. I would just laugh and roll my eyes like a typical young child. I figured that they didn’t know what they were talking about. I just knew I had all the time in the world to fill my memory with moments, both happy and sad. This thought quickly vanished, however, as cold reality set in.
It set in the day my father passed away. My father was just like any regular father. He had his good days and his bad days. He had his days where he made me laugh until I turned red and he had his days where he hurt me and made me cry until I fell asleep. He gave me many happy memories. My father loved to cook but he was a terrible cook. Everything that he touched he burnt. When I was younger, every Saturday and Sunday morning he would get up and cook breakfast for the entire family. The breakfast would always be burnt. I would always get mad and say that I didn’t want any burnt breakfast and that I wanted a real breakfast. My mother would always tell me to hush because I was hurting my father’s feeling and that it was the thought that counted.
My father loved music. Our favorite R&B singer was Toni Braxton. Usually I didn’t get up in time to help my father fix breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. When I did help him fix breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings, the breakfast looked and tasted perfect. As we would make breakfast we would listen to music on channel 19. One Saturday morning while I was helping him make breakfast, Toni Braxton’s “You Make Me High” came on. We started singing it together in the kitchen. About ten minutes later, my mother got up and told us to be quiet because she and my brother were trying to sleep. It was one of my most cherished moments with my father before he died.
I also remember when I was about eight or nine; my father took me to Irwin Park to play basketball. He taught me how to shoot the basketball, play defense, and many other things. I was so happy that he took me to Irwin Park with him to play basketball because I knew that he never got to do any of those kinds of activities with my brother because my brother was always down at my grandparents’ house. I really miss those memories. When I was younger, I took those memories for granted because I didn’t know any better and I thought that I would have plenty more time to experience other happy memories with my father.
Time and life had a way of proving me different. When I was twelve, my father died from C.O.P.D. Now I just wish that I would have valued my time and memories with my father, grandmother, aunts, and uncles because it wasn’t until it was too late that I learned that you can’t get that time and those memories back. My belief that I take with me every day throughout life is that you should cherish the ones that you love the most and the memories you have with them because you never know when you might lose them. I hope that you take my belief to heart because if you take it for granted like I did so many years ago; you will end up being a person who took something or someone for granted who realizes later that that something or someone once meant the world to you. It could be a mother’s warmth, a friend’s smile, a sibling’s laughter, or even a father’s terrible cooking and off-key singing.