Poor dads. Having Father’s Day come after Mother’s Day generally means that our outpouring of emotion has already been spent on mom. Not that she doesn’t deserve it, but I’ve always felt a bit sorry for the dads because of this, despite the fact that most of them probably couldn’t give a rats about all the mushy stuff.
I deliberately saved some mush for my pop and here’s the dealio:
my dad is AWESOME.
I’ve always been the proverbial “daddy’s girl”. But why? What makes that special relationship between a father and a daughter? What makes a dad a great dad? Equal measures of firm guidance and support mixed with playful fun? Sounds logical, but my dad was never particularly strict or playful, yet I totally adore him. Just ask huzbo and even ex-huz. They both would say it’s tiring to hear so often what a great man my pops is, despite the fact that they both agree he is a great guy.
My dad is not one of those guys you look at and see anything obviously spectacular. He is quiet and gentle, but not a wuss. I’ve seen my dad cry ONCE in my entire life (although I know he has cried more than that) and trust me when I say so, it did me in. Yet as he ages, I see more and more sentimentality in him, which makes him all the more endearing to me.
He has always been accepting of me, even when he didn’t agree with me or some of my choices. He’s never judged me (to my face, anyway, and that counts for a lot) and has always been careful with his words and gentle criticisms.
He is not hip or stylish, but he totally does not give a shit (sorry dad – you didn’t think I’d only cuss in mom’s Mother’s Day blog, did you?). He has always been true to himself in his calm own way.
He loves my mother. Watching him nurse her for the past month after she had a major surgery and difficult recovery has touched my heart. He has never been much for modern division of labour around the house. My mom has always done the cooking and most of the cleaning, while he tended to the yard and other “manly” tasks like car and house repairs. However, for the past month, he has done ALL of it. He has cooked for them both, he has cleaned the house, he has still tended to the yard work and he has done unmentionable nursing care tasks for my mother that make me gag a little to think of them (thanks for sharing the details of those nursing tasks, dad). I’m sure he hasn’t been enjoying it all, but he has done it without complaint. Over the years, he has epitomized his “in sickness and in health” commitment to my mother.
He loves his family. How do I know this? I had to think about that. I don’t remember him being particularly demonstrative while I was growing up, although he wasn’t cold to us, either. He’s just always been there whenever we needed anything, or even when we didn’t know we needed something. In his unassuming, back-stage kinda way. No fuss. Just strong and reliable. Always dependable.
He used to let us (my brother and I) sit on his back as he crawled on his hands and knees playing pony. He taught me to ride a 2-wheeler bike. He was the one who took my 19 year old cat back to the vet to be euthanized when I brought her home from the vet’s office because I couldn’t watch them do it and I didn’t want her to be alone when she passed. He promised me he would stay with her until the end, and he did. Ok, so he came home and told me all about it in vivid details that I didn’t want to hear, but at least he stayed with her.
He helped me take apart my furniture without lecture when my first marriage died, while I’m sure his heart was breaking for me, and he helped me set up my new home as a single woman alone without nagging advice, while I’m sure he was crazy worried about me.
He has never said so, but I think he’s really secretly proud that I kept his surname when I married for the 2nd time and I also insisted our daughter have MY surname instead of my husband’s when we adopted her. At the time, he told me I was too “unconventional” as a wife, but I think now he’s glad that his name will continue on in the event that my brother never has children, or his wife is also unconventional, if they do. My dad is proud of his name and his heritage and so am I.
My dad is super smart. He never graduated from university because he was so wildly in love with my mom that he couldn’t wait another year until graduation to marry her. My mom says he was in a rush to put a ring on it so that she wouldn’t get away. I think he regrets not graduating, but he’s never regretted marrying my mom, and I think it’s totally romantic. He doesn’t need a degree to tell the world he’s smart and he still provided for his family with his professional career while I was growing up. Plus, he’s handy. There isn’t much he can’t fix – cars, houses, you name it. He is a DIY poster boy.
He is kind. He loves animals and he once cut a hole in the wall of our laundry room closet to let a bird out that got stuck in there when it flew in through a vent/pipe in our garage. He never comes to my house without having a personal chat and rubdown with each of my 3 cats.
He digs curvy women. I have memories of my dad pointing out super-skinny women and remarking “What’s a man going to do with a piece of 2 by 4 like that?”. My apologies to super-skinny women and feminists who might be offended by that, but I personally love that he never, EVER told my mom what to eat or not eat and always appreciated her curves and curvy women in general. Many people believe that a girl gets her body image from her mom, which is usually true. However, many dads also contribute to a girl’s self-image and I’m glad my dad never expressed negativity about curvy ladies.
My mom, at times, has teased him about his looks, but I’ve always thought my dad was handsome. He is tall and slim (sorry for calling you “Chicken Legs” all those times, dad) despite his huge love of food, all food, any kind of food (that man can EAT) and he has beautiful gold-flecked eyes that reflect the kindness of his character.
He has the worst jokes, yet somehow they are just so him. He is the king of puns, play-on words and corny jokes. He is never sarcastic (“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit” is one of his favorite quotes. Guess I’m a total dimwit based on that measure, but he loves me anyway) and never tells dirty jokes, although he likes to hear them. Despite our different senses of humour, he often makes me laugh. Sometimes at him, but he takes it all in stride. One of our family’s favorite memories is of the Christmas when my parents bought their first cordless house phone. My dad was excited and impressed by this new technology and told us “Now I can take the phone to the church with me and not miss any calls while I’m there helping out!”. We still pee with laughter at his misunderstanding, and he laughs along with us.
He is an amazing grandfather to both my daughter and my stepson. I often watch him and get a tear in my eye, usually from wondering why he wasn’t so patient with me and MY 10 million questions and smarminess, but perhaps time and age have helped him to slow down a bit and enjoy his life more, now that he doesn’t have to work so hard to support our family. His love for both of our kids shines from him and he is the biggest pushover when it comes to spoiling Baby Girl rotten. And believe me – she knows it.
I love him because at one point some time ago, he had to violate his own personal code of ethics and integrity. For me. Because I asked him to. (Easy now, it wasn’t to do anything criminal!) This was perhaps the hardest decision he had to make in his life, because ethics and integrity are everything to him. He is not a man who has EVER turned his back on his own integrity. He is the most honest and loyal man I’ve ever met and stands as an example for everything that is good. I know he doesn’t regret that decision he made, but I will never forget that without him doing so, my life would not be anything that it is today.
Like the Bette Midler song we danced to at my wedding says:
Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
I owe you more than I could ever repay.
For all of it.