Babies don’t make promises. They live and thrive on the willingness of others to make promises to them – promises that they will be fed, clothed and sheltered, kept warm, given comfort, played with and loved.
My extraordinary good fortune was to be born into a family more than willing to make and keep promises. My father took promises especially seriously. The eldest of six children, he was one of those increasingly rare creatures – a man of his word. Whether it was a work colleague, a neighbor, a family member or his tiny daughter coming to him with a request, if he said he would do it, he did.
“Daddy!” I’d ask as he came in from work and settled down to look at the mail. “Will you color with me?” “I’ll color with you after dinner,” he’d say. “I’m going to a meeting tonight, but we’ll have time to do a couple of pictures.” “Promise?” I’d ask. “I promise,” he’d say. And the promise always held. Continue reading