I wanted to take an opportunity to acknowledge someone I’ve written about here before–my dad.
My dad asked, during his toast at my wedding reception three years ago: “Where did the time go?” And I often wonder the same thing. Volumes upon volumes of memories spanning over three decades, and they all seem like practically yesterday.
The rides down the street on his riding lawn mower, the amazing vacations, the Bond movies, him “counting” the freckles on my face when I was kid, the impromptu history quizzes, our shared love for anything nostalgic, and the laughs. Oh, the laughs!
My dad is very serious and business-like, and sometimes can even look intimidating, but he did nearly anything to get a laugh out of my brother and me–like indulging our nightly childhood request for him to “walk out funny and hurt [him]self” after he tucked us in, which usually involved him walking out of our rooms, wildly waving his arms and then lightly bopping his head on the door frame. Another instance, I remember my dad falling victim to a prank that my brother and I devised after seeing Home Alone. We rigged an elaborate trap involving a tray of toy balls attached to a long string with a handwritten sign: “PULL.”
Our pranks didn’t end there. One April Fool’s Day, when I was very young and feeling extra mischievous, I placed one of my mother’s flannel nightgowns in his closet. Several hours later and ever the good sport, my dad came down the stairs and into the living room, feigning confusion…and wearing that flannel nightgown. I’m fairly certain he won’t be thrilled with me for telling that last story, but it truly is one of my favorite memories, and it is a great example of just a small facet of who he was, is as a father.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, one of the things I appreciate most about my dad is his interest in whatever it is that I’m doing. He was the driving force behind my going to film school, the first subscriber to this blog, the first to research MS when I was diagnosed, he is the first to ask when my next dance performance is, and usually the first person I tell about new opportunities that arise.
My dad has allowed me to fall, and he has been there when I’ve needed to be picked up. He forgave me when I accidentally dropped a bowling ball on his foot. He’s forgiven me for making life in our house pretty difficult many years ago. He forgave me when I should have been there, but wasn’t. He is one of the people I trust the most and one of the first from whom I seek advice, because I know he will allow me to express myself and truly feel my emotions, and then reign me back in and push me forward.
I don’t know if the feeling is mutual, but over these last several, very difficult months in particular, I feel like he and I understand each other better as people than we ever have before. It’s surreal, that period in your life when something shifts and slowly, but surely we begin to truly appreciate our parents as human beings. He’s absolutely fascinating. And I’m so thankful to know that.
I’m not going to delve into personal specifics here, so you’ll have to take my word for it, but I can assure you: He is the greatest father and precisely the father I’ve needed.
Thank you for that, Dad. Happy 65th birthday, Baddy Daddy. I love you so, so much.
(…inside joke) 🙂