My Dad used to smoke.
This was about 25-30 years ago when I suppose it was more socially acceptable. But he still took great pains to hide it from my brother and me. He only smoked out of the house, in his car, and in the bathroom. But of course we knew he did it. Anyone with a nose could tell.
One day when I was about 13, I decided I really didn’t like my Dad smoking. I was worried for his health. I don’t know, maybe I had just learned the effects of smoking in health class. I’m honestly not sure what prompted my behavior.
What I do know is that I took it upon myself to come downstairs in the middle of the night and hang signs throughout the house with such handwritten gems as “you’re killing your children” and “2nd hand smoke kills.” What balls I had!
The next day, it wasn’t even acknowledged. I didn’t get a lecture. What I did get was a dad who stopped smoking.
I’m unsure of the details. I suppose I should ask him how and why he actually did it. All I know is that he did, and fast. Maybe he was just looking for an excuse, or the right motivation. My Dad, much like me, is very stubborn.
I’m not sure that I ever thanked him for quitting. So here goes. Thank you Daddy-o. I’m glad you stopped smoking, no matter what the reason. I hope you gained many more years of your life. I’m a little bit sorry I wrote such things on paper for you to see. But only a bit.
It worked. (Or something did.) And to me, that was the greatest gift.
When I think back on it now as a parent myself, I’m actually proud of my mom and dad for raising a daughter who cared that much about their health. I hope Ronin and Ellie feel that strongly about us too. That they’ll risk a lecture to make their voices heard. Stubborn just like their mom and Grandpa.
This week’s prompt from The Red Dress Club was based on a photo of a burning cigarette in an ashtray.