When I was just a little girl, the biggest treat I could get was when my dad would take me to McDonalds. We would go maybe once a month, just a daddy-daughter lunch. It was such a special occasion because my father often worked late hours or went away on business trips for weeks on end. Whenever we went to McDonald’s together, it would give me the much overdue opportunity to tousle his hair, teach him all the games that I had learned at school, and, best of all, I could marvel over the golden wristwatch that he would wear. When at McDonald’s, I would always joyously yell “Happy Meal!” when asked what I wanted to order, and I would always rush to look inside of the small red box when my number was called. Why was this so exciting to me, you may ask? It was because there was honestly nothing more exciting than the magical toys that I would receive in my happy meal. Even if they were just cheap, plastic toys, it felt as if Santa had come early. After all, what child would turn down a chance to play and imagine, no matter how cheap?
On one of these rare McDonalds lunch days, my dad and I went into the fast food restaurant. It still smelled like fried grease and sweetened tea, but the atmosphere felt different than it usually did. I pulled my dad’s hand up to the line, excitedly scanning the menu, although I already knew what I wanted. As usual, I jumped up and down with excitement as we got closer to the front of the line. The smell of freshly fried French fries wafted into my nose and I sniffed contently. Finally, it was our turn to order. Before the cashier could even finish asking me what I wanted, I yelled, “Happy Meal!” The cashier’s surprised face was replaced with a sweet smile as she confirmed my order. I ran upstairs to find a seat as my dad placed his order. After what felt like hours but was actually just a few minutes, my dad joined me at the table I had picked out, happy meal in hand. I immediately jumped out of my seat to grab it out of his hand and look inside. I dug through the fries until I found what I had received: a very special toy. In fact, it was more than just a toy. It was something a grown up would use. It was a small, golden, plastic watch; and not just any watch - the design almost perfectly matched my dad’s watch! I was so excited to own such a thing that I put in on right away and held my hand up next to my dad’s.
“Hey, look!” My dad said, smiling, “We match!”
I smiled back. We did match. Now, whenever he worked late, traveled to Georgia, or simply didn’t have enough time to talk, I could simply look down at my wrist and remember that he was still always with me.