my dad sitting on a beach in anacortes

Father’s Day: Before and After

I could always depend on a summer trip with my dad. Whether it was for his birthday in August, or Father’s Day in June, we always made it a point to reunite for a week during these summer months. Most of the time, we took advantage of the glorious weather in the Pacific Northwest where he lived, but sometimes we made the occasional trip to San Francisco for our favorite rivalry games between the Dodgers and Giants.

But it wasn’t always this way. There was a short phase in my life where my father and I didn’t speak. I recently remembered when I told him not to come to my Stanford graduation, which also fell on a Father’s Day. Looking back, I can’t imagine how it broke his heart, but he had a different perspective. Years later, he told me that he made peace with it by knowing that I was comfortable voicing my opinion, and that his daughter “wasn’t going to take shit from anyone”.

Maybe you’ve been in one of these emotional droughts with a loved one, so you’ll understand. Luckily, my dad and I reunited and developed a meaningful friendship that evolved with every conversation and interaction.

Those interactions go all the way back to my childhood memories on this beach in Anacortes. My dad lived there for many years, and my brother and I would trek up to Washington each summer to enjoy this magical season called summer. We built rafts, roasted marshmallows, picked apples, and created memories that would last a lifetime.

In June 2015, my dad and I drove to this beach where he used to live over 20 years before. The new owners mentioned that they were thinking of selling the property in a few years, but my dad and I both had a bit of sticker shock when they told us of the price.

As we made our way down the steps in silence, my dad and I found our respective rocks on the shore. I don’t know what was going through his mind, but I could feel the heaviness in the air. I gave him some space.

After a moment of repose, I came and sat next to him on the sand. I could tell that he had been crying. Tears of what I don’t know, but we hugged each other in solace. I don’t remember what I uttered, maybe a mention of happy memories of days past. I guess at that point, the words really didn’t matter. What mattered is that we had this time together and the chance to travel around one of our favorite parts of Washington.

That was our last trip to Washington together as my dad died the next summer. Our last Father’s day spent cruising around Puget Sound. Our last summer trip.

happy father's day