When I was a child, nothing excited me quite like the sound of my father's keys. Not the Good Humor ice cream truck. Not even the theme song of my favorite cartoon. The heavy jingling of metal and vacation souvenir keychains against our front door was like sleigh bells, only it meant that Dad was home and our family was complete. My two sisters and I would drop whatever we were doing— whether it was playing with the countless Barbie dolls we had, or bugging our longsuffering mother— and make a dash for the door.
“Hi my babies!” he’d exclaim as he walked into our apartment, heavy-laden with his work uniform and equipment. Hugs and kisses would follow as we leaped into our father’s arms, telling him all at once about our day.
Those moments were sweeter than any Hallmark card could detail. Snapchat stories or Instagram selfies couldn’t even begin to capture the joy of those times. The sound of jazz playing from 98.7 Kiss FM in between our episodes of giggles. Feeling the burgundy carpet under our bare feet as we ran at what felt like track speed. The exhausted smile on Mom’s face as she peeked from the kitchen, perhaps signifying her relief after caring for three hyper girls all day.
These were the type of memories that make you sit and wish you were a kid again. But rather than hope for a time machine, I am warmed by the evolution of those moments. The nonstop childish blabbering has now become conversations of wisdom and faith with my father. My relationship with my mother consists of more than what she could do for me, but honoring who she is as a person. And my sisters have grown past being obligatory playmates, but my best friends.
But it all started in a two bedroom apartment in New Rochelle, NY where the space was limited but the love was unconditional. And if I had to describe that love with a sound, it would be the sound of those jingling keys.