As a child, pants pockets were a convenient place to keep things important to me.
I can remember frustrating my mother with the valuables coming out of my pockets: Legos, wrapped and unwrapped candies and maybe even the occasional frog.
Nowadays, as a father, the items coming out of my pockets are just as varied and incomprehensible.
As I remove my keys, wallet and cell phone from my pants, I look back at the oddities that accumulate on my dresser. Each tells us a story about why we love our children.
I love to keep notes my children write. Two of my favorites came from my middle daughter a few years ago. One is a note to us, saying her oldest sister “yelled at me for no raisin,” complete with a drawing. I never did learn how that dried-up grape torched their relationship.
The other is addressed to her youngest sister with this perplexing message: “I am very sorry. GET OUT. Love!” Talk about your mixed messages.
Most items end up in my pocket because someone hands them to me for safe keeping.
That’s how a handful of Shopkins ended up on my dresser, those miniature plastic pieces that spread all over the house occasionally. There’s a trick playing card too, from when my youngest daughter became convinced she wanted to learn magic. Apparently my middle daughter lost her marbles at one point, as two sat on the dresser from the time she obsessed with building the tallest marble track she could.
Some remind me of fun things we do together. The needle for our bike pump went right into my pocket after pumping up a basketball so we could all play some hoops. That fondness for basketball explains the tickets from attending the state girls basketball tournament together. There’s a tennis ball too, left over from one day of heading to the park and playing together.
Some memories aren’t as enjoyable. My youngest daughter’s asthma rescue inhaler gets tossed in my pocket after an emergency several times a year. There’s the top of a recorder, taken from a youngster when she refused to stop when it became clear she just wanted to annoy everyone with the shrill instrument. Somehow the receipt from my oldest daughter’s week at driving school ended up in my pocket too, meaning it pulled paper out from my wallet and put paper back into my pocket too.
There’s a Sharpie marker, undoubtedly yanked away from our 3-year-old foster daughter before she inadvertently redecorated our home. I believe that’s also how those eight plastic bracelet rings arrived in my pocket too, when she started clanking them against the pew at church one Sunday.
There are plenty of other odd items that spend their time in a dad’s pocket, including ear buds, charging cables and hair ties. Each reminds you of the minutiae of being a father. Each brings a smile to my face. It’s these everyday items and everyday memories that remind you why it’s great to be a father.
It’s easy to joke that children empty your pockets of whatever cash you have. As it turns out, they more than make up for that by filling your pockets — and heart — every day you spend with them.