To this day, my dad remains the most awesome guy I know. He’s got jokes for days and he Knows Stuff. He spends an inordinate amount of time and research on things before making a purchase (usually on things like cars or tools)…I call this Having A Hard Time Making A Decision, a characteristic which I’ve fully inherited.
He’s been pretty awesome since the beginning. While I don’t remember it, he went out and bought me a dress the day I was born. It’s a little too small for me nowadays. Here, my dad appears to be wondering just how much a newborn baby will eat.
My father was a schoolteacher and my mom stayed at home with us. How he supported five children on a teacher’s salary is beyond me (nor do I know how my mom fed five children on one box of Kraft Dinner), but I guess it’s a good thing he was a math teacher…there were probably some creative budgeting ideas in there.
My father also coached soccer for many years. When I was in Kindergarten I decided I wanted to play! I’m sure this made him very happy since he loves soccer. On my first day of soccer practice, I decided that the game of soccer wasn’t super exciting, but it was AWESOME to be out in the field picking dandelions and watching birds and airplanes go by! I quit soccer, but my dad supported my other sports over the years, including softball and gymnastics. He was also totally beyond my early childhood goal of growing up to be a cheerleader, and took me trick-or-treating in my cheerleader costume for three straight years.
My father plays the guitar so there was always music happening at home. My parents have a large collection of record albums and while having tea parties or Saturday morning French toast, I learned to love Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson.
He’s always done fun stuff with us like taking us fishing, camping in a tent in the backyard, teaching me how to do a cartwheel, or teaching me how to drive a standard (hey, I think that’s pretty fun, no?) He helped me learn how to do flips on monkey bars and gave us spare wood to build bike jumps. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that my dad had a much bigger adventurous streak than I realized; we probably didn’t see it because we were too busy seeing our dad, and he had to put some of his adventures on hold to raise a family. But just check out this adventurous guy riding a bike, holding his toddler son under his arm. Can we say living on the edge? Safety first?
My dad loves animals and he is always happy to give his granddog a bowl of ice cream whenever my dog visits. When we were small and my mom would go somewhere, my dad would let the cats in the living room and allow them to climb all over the furniture, something my mom was not a fan of. He believed that all kitties had a right to be just as comfortable as the rest of the family.
As I mentioned before, he was a high school math teacher, and he tried to teach me math when I got to high school and my understanding of math started tanking. I didn’t necessarily want to listen to him. I was a teenager. I didn’t necessarily want to listen to anything he was telling me. But he was always there, being a quiet role model, never wavering, for whenever it was that I decided to stop being so stubborn and stop listening. Thanks, Daddy, for being the person you are and always have been.