Monday, 19 September 2016

My Father's Many Treasures

My father was a man with many passions and interests.  He loved learning, always believing it was as important to maintain an active mind as well as an active body.  He enjoyed music, the theatre, photography, reading, writing and sketching.

I have vivid memories of time spent in his den, with me sitting at his feet while he sat in his wing chair and sketched.  I am not sure what I was doing - watching some kind of show with him, reading, drawing, or making some didn't really matter.  I just loved sitting there, feeling safely cocooned with him in his warm den, surrounded by the rich, dark wood furniture, each piece lovingly chosen by my parents.  

I tell you all this for a reason - Dad's den was his haven.  He spent countless hours there...sitting at his desk, writing stories, researching cases, sketching or reviewing contact sheets of photos he'd taken.  And now, I sit here and recall those days, typing away at my computer, sitting on his chair, at his desk, in the den that Carlo and I have created in our home...a room that unintentionally evolved into a recreation (of sorts) of Dad's den from my childhood.  It is quickly becoming my favourite room in our house, together with the kitchen - of course!!  And I have competition - Becca loves it too.  So, we are sharing it...much like Dad shared his den with us.

Which leads me to the chocolate brown couch.  This simple sofa holds has always been a favourite of mine, and when we inherited it for Sara's bedroom years ago, I was happy to see it join our family.

I remember falling asleep on it as a child - actually, I fell asleep on my Dad while he lay on it watching Sunday afternoon ball games.  These were special moments that I would always hold dear. When we moved to our current home the couch relocated to our bedroom, and became mine.  I spent many evenings and weekends on it, watching shows, folding laundry, studying for paralegal exams. It became my favourite place to retreat to.

One day, in the weeks before he died, Dad was telling me about all the special pieces of furniture he and Mom had collected over their life together.  I mentioned that I was planning to create a den of sorts from some pieces that would be moving to our home, and the focal point for me was the couch. I told him how much I loved this couch, and the many memories it held for me.  His eyes lit up - as only his eyes could, with a youthful round shape and a mischievous twinkle - and he told me that it was his favourite piece too, and how much he loved it.  He told me how happy he was that it was as dear to me as it was to him, and I think we both marvelled at how this trivial yet huge fact had never come up over the years.

Fast forward to September...the den is set up, and the couch is settled in its new home.  Carlo recently painted over the  hideous mint green walls - a last remnant from the old owners.  Piece by piece, we gingerly moved the dark, rich wood furniture from Dad's place, and from around our house, into "The Den".  Once it was complete, I looked around the room and realized that I had created my own version of the den of my childhood...and it was good.

That first night I came upstairs to find the door closed, and giggles coming from behind it.  I opened the door to discover Becca laying on the couch, Face Timing with her sister.  The den was complete and so was the circle.

I spend hours in here, sitting on our couch, studying for my licensing exam, watching shows with Becca.  I use it to sort papers, and to fold laundry.  And I feel though my father is somehow here with me, smiling that oh so familiar smile, with a deep sense of comfort that his couch remains treasured, used and the centre of a family.

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