A daughter’s questions

My daughter was born in 1976, is married, and lives with her husband and two children in Maryland. My wife and I planned to visit them this spring, but the pandemic nixed our travel plans.

On Father’s Day, she sent me a Facebook message with a series of “Questions for Dads” that read as follows:

  1. Can you tell me about your best friend when you were a kid and one of your adventures?
  2. What is the oldest story you know about our ancestors?
  3. Can you describe a favorite memory of a family member? Do you have a favorite snack, song, television show, recipe, comedy?
  4. What is your first memory?
  5. Did you ever get in trouble as a kid? What happened?
  6. If there were a biography of you, how would you want to be described?
  7. What is the best advice you remember from your father?
  8. Is there anything you wish you had said to someone but didn’t have a chance?
  9. What do you wish you had spent less time worrying about?
  10. What is the best part of your day?
  11. What is the last thing you changed your mind about?
  12. What things helped you get through a difficult time in your life?
  13. What trip or place is most special to you and why?
  14. What would you like to re-experience again because you did not appreciate it the first time?
  15. Can you tell me something about yourself that I don’t know that you think would surprise me?
  16. What habits served you the most through life?
  17. What is the best mistake you made and why?

Typically, when asked questions like these, I respond with flippant answers. But, as I told my wife, I didn’t want to do that because these questions were a gift that–if I answered truthfully–would bring us closer together. So, I poured a glass of red wine and started typing.

I did the best I could. I suspect most of my answers were things she didn’t know. When I printed them out, they became four single-spaced pages that I mailed to her via the USPS this morning.

When I was in college, my father sent me a series of letters about his life during high school and college. It was the kind of stuff that didn’t come up in conversations around the dinner table. I was happy to get it because it shed new light on just who my father was. I hope my daughter will feel the same way.

Most of my life is a mystery to my daughter because it happened before she was born, and even before I met her mother. I don’t know where she found the questions, but it made my day to see them. Will my answers surprise her? Yes, I think they will.