daddys wallet

At the airport this week, I happened to overhear a man checking in. Casual but distinguished, he appeared to be in his mid-thirties. He looked like a business person of some kind. I was busy myself so I only heard snippets of the conversation he had with the check-in agent, but what I did hear will keep me smiling for a week.

As he looked through his wallet, he chuckled because he couldn’t seem to find his ID. Our wallets and purses quickly fill with bits of our lives: credit cards, folded pieces of paper, business cards, notes, and pictures. I overheard him tell the agent his wallet was handmade.

Well that piqued the agent’s interest, and they both smiled because it was a little worse for wear, and yes, when you looked, obviously made by hand. The customer went on to relate that his daughter had made it for him. I asked him how old she was, and he said thirteen—she had made the wallet when she was ten (the mom in me lurched to her feet, clutched her heart, and teared up a little). How sweet.

He’s been hunting for his license in this wallet for three years. Instead of buying a fancy one with pockets for such things, dividers for cards, and any other bells and whistles it might have—he’s using this one. When he goes to the store, he pulls this out to get his credit card. When he wants to show someone pictures of his kids, they are in this billfold (by now the mom in me was full on cheering).

I would imagine at this point most people would be thinking it’s time for a new wallet, but I don’t think he’s going to be headed for that section of the store anytime soon. I can imagine his daughter smiling each time he takes it out of his back pocket and pays for her ice cream. Her new jeans. Her dancing lessons. Does she tell people “I made that for him” when they notice it?

He said the first one she gave him had Minions on it but he had to tell her; “Daddy can’t carry around a wallet with Minions on it honey,” so she made him this one. It looks to be made out of black duct tape, “a nice manly color,” he adds. He’s clearly proud of it, proud of her. She loves him, that’s clear, and I can just see her working hard on it. She did a good job for it to have worked so well for so long.

I’ve kept things my daughter made for me when she was little, to her continued embarrassment (that’s WHY we save them didn’t you know honey?). As a single parent I just don’t have any idea on whether guys save those sentimental bits too. Clearly this Dad does. And I’ll tell you something else. Every time she sees him pull her hand-made wallet out of his pocket, his daughter knows without a doubt that she is loved.

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Monique Nagel
Monique Nagel is a freelance author who lives deep in the piney woods of South Georgia. She has written for the Valdosta Magazine and My Georgia Hometown and also runs a neglected blog full of short stories. In her spare time she likes to read science fiction.


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