Donut Holes

It’s 3245 steps from our front door. Most of the time we walk, Gracie always a step or two ahead, anxious for the destination. Other times I run, desperately trying to keep with her as she plows ahead corner to corner on her hot pink punk bicycle. It’s our time alone as a father and a daughter.

Most people enjoy a sleepy Saturday morning. We, on the other hand, wake earlier than the weekday, just for the chance to get an early start. She’s usually up first, rising early to dress and brush her teeth before waking me while Mom flips to the other side in an effort to squeeze just a few more minutes from her pillow. She doesn’t know I can hear her from down the hallway as she opens her the drawers to get her socks. Still, I feign sleeping, waiting for her to tell me it is time to go.

Minutes later we put on our coats and head for the door. By now she’s already prepared her bike, strapped on her helmet and developed a plan. “Dad, this time you follow me. I want to choose the path”, she tells me as she pushes the bike out the door. She tries a running start, pushing the bike with one leg while the other rests on the peddle. She falls. “I’m OK”, she says as she brushes off her jeans and pulls up the bike. No amount of blood or scrape will deter her from her mission and I agree. It’s donut day.

They say that you burn off the calories in a donut with just 28 minutes of walking. Last time we went to the bakery it took us 26 minutes. This time I’ll have to walk slower. And including the trip back to the house, I figure I can have two donuts this time, as long as I walk slow then too. Somehow I don’t think Gracie goes through the same rationalizing that I do. Still I don’t do it for the exercise and I don’t do it for the sugar. I do it to meet my daughter. Each Saturday we talk about the week, talk about our plans and talk about the scenery. This morning she told me about her boyfriend. “Let’s just call them friends”, I tell her. “No Dad, they’re boys and they’re friends – they’re boyfriends”, she responds. She tells me she likes them and one day plans to marry some of them. “Aren’t you a bit young to be thinking of this”, I ask. “No”, she replies, offering no explanation. I disagree and tell her so, but she’s just as stubborn as I am and continues to talk about her “boyfriends”. I listen and make a point of commenting on her “friends”. She glares at me each time she hears the word. “Dad, don’t worry. I won’t have kids”, she says, “Having kids really, really hurts and I don’t want a shot.” I’m not sure how to respond, but I know what she’s talking about. Ever since visiting Grandma Jody and accidentally turning on the channel to the latest reality pregnancy show instead of Spongebob she’s reassured us that this would never happen to her. Sad to say she might be scarred for life.

We walk the last few steps in silence. I know in her mind she’s already deciding between a chocolate covered donut or sprinkled.  Inside I choose the cinnamon and chocolate donut. She chooses the coconut and chocolate donut. The lady at the counter raises her eyebrows and asks again, unsure if Gracie really wanted the coconut donut to go with her cranberry juice. She does and this time she comes through loud and clear. From there we site and once again talk. This time it’s about the shoe repair place across the street and how easy it would be if he could clip her shoe laces so she’d never have to worry about tying them again. This time it’s my turn to roll my eyes.

I love Saturday mornings, not for the donuts or the walk, but because it is our time to connect. Gracie tells me she loves it too. And this time instead of riding her bike, she asks me to push it so that she can hold my hand as we walk back home. This is what I love and this is my daughter. A hundred or so steps later its over as she asks for her bike and rides off again with me jogging to catch up. If only it would last a bit longer. Maybe another ten years or so.

2 Responses to “Donut Holes”

  1. Jeany Encanto says:

    It’s very touching & unforgettable moments between a father & a daughter.
    May Gracie now Rest In Peace with our Almighty One.

    You are so lucky to have her as your child. She’s one of a kind!

    GOD Bless you & your family, sir!

  2. Kathy says:

    Dear Jeany,

    I wanted to let you know that Elena is the little girl that is in heaven and Gracie is still with her family.