They say a person’s first memory in life is always something emotional.
For me, it’s still as vivid as if it happened yesterday — my dad is opening his arms to take and soothe me while I’m weeping.
There he was, standing so strong and unbelievably tall. Having dropped whatever he might be carrying or doing, he would unconditionally accept me in my toddler drama and give me a few sweet moments to cry on his shoulder.
He would stand with me in his arms, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses. His warm chest would radiate strength and safety, and I thought that if I become small enough, the outside world will never find me.
Not once did my father deny me those precious moments in his refuge that could seemingly protect me forever. No matter how inconvenient or unwarranted it was at the moment, I knew I could run to him and hide.
When I would get bored with crying, I would lay my head on his shoulder and let my arms hang limp, so that I could feel completely helpless. I would start purring something in my little pleasure. My dad would see that I’m back to my balance, start tickling me and mumbling some cute nonsense in my ear.
There wasn’t a single cry of mine that didn’t end up in laughter.
Once I wrapped my little hands around his big head, squinted, and pressed my face against his cheek as hard as I could. I tried to hide in it completely.
“Daddy, there’s such darkness in your cheek!” I said, amazed, eyes still closed.
“What?” he laughed.
“Why is your cheek so very dark inside?”
“It wants to eat you!”
“How?” I was confused.
“It needs to scare you before it eats you. Even little girls can’t be eaten unless they are scared.”
“But what should I do now?”
“Just never fear anything, sweetie. Nothing can eat you if you’re not afraid.”