I’m terrible at remembering Hallmark Holidays. But, I love my Daddy, so I need to do up a post about him. And there’s a good chance he’ll see it, too, since my Mom reads the blog. (Thanks, Mom!)
Once upon a time, some attractive people with dimples fell in love and got married.
They had some very attractive babies with dimples.
These babies were also more than a little bit stinkery. Or, at least, the boy child was. The girl child hides her stinkery side very well.
The boy child with dimples grew up to meet a pretty blonde girl with no dimples. (She rode horses and motorbikes, and played the drums, and she really, really liked him back.)
Then they had some babies. About half the babies had dimples.
The man learned to balance fatherhood with all the other stuff in life.
And then he just carried on being an awesome Daddy, while raising seven very stinkery kids.
And now, he’s the rather lovely Grandpa of a whole stack of grands, about half of whom have dimples.
Here’s a short list of the best things about my Daddy:
He has naturally curly, soft hair, and let me play with it when I was little. I’d mold his curls into cascading rows of upturned flips, reminiscent of several hairstyles in Munchkinland.
He worked early and long hours in a lumber mill when we were small. Most afternoons, he’d come home from work, stretch out on the floor, and invite us to dog-pile on him, which we most cheerfully did. I was grown-up before I realized that he was completely zonked, and taking a 20 minute nap on the floor while his progeny wallered his back for him.
He wrote me a letter the day I started kindergarten. It wasn’t a “to a kid” letter, either–Daddy treats little kids like they’re Real People.
He gave up a lot of sleep to drive me to play practice (3 hours each way, every week for about ten weeks), and spent rehearsal times helping build sets, run lines, work out vocal parts, and coach dance sequences, to the point that he had his own listing in the program. He Gets Stuff Done.
He (and Mom) gave up even more sleep to drive me to dance lessons (once a week, 160 mile round trip). We always hit Dairy Queen before we drove home, for burgers and fries with pink sauce.
He was Dance Team Dad for over eight years, giving up even more time to emcee our competitions and performances, haul gear, and even help with auditions. He knows what “dance hands” need to look like, and how to do traveling steps, and what to look for in a kick line. And, he can break it all down and teach it.
He is Baby Valium. Small things fall asleep on him. Babies adore him. He’s worked in the church nursery so long, he now has nursery grandkids… he took care of their parents when they were babies.
It rains when he goes camping. It snows when I go camping. We have not camped together since I was twelve, for obvious reasons.
He reads just about everything (just like his own Daddy), and got me started on “big” sci-fi when I was nine, with Frank Herbert’s Dune series. (What was he THINKING?) He also worked out the “who reads the fastest” order, which set out the pattern in which new books are passed around the family, maximizing reading time and minimizing fist-fights. We’re serious about our books and such.
He sings, but not often in public. Get him in a car, turn on the tunes, and enjoy the mellow tenor voice.
He also listens to a LOT of different music. Between him and my Mom, my musical upbringing was rich and diverse, and that’s been a huge help to me in life.
He saved up his “mad money” for a whole year to buy me an electronic keyboard, so I would be able to take portable music with me everywhere. (My little girls beg to bring out the “plug in pyanyo” on a nearly-daily basis.)
He makes really good biscuits and gravy.
He doesn’t talk a whole lot, and definitely not on the phone, but he communicates anyhow.
He adopts extra daughters. I have a “tall, curley-headed” honorary sister, because my Dad is good at being the Extra Dad.
He “gets” teenagers. And likes them. And treats them like human beings.
He’s 100% okay with crying in front of other people while he reads the eulogy I wrote for one of my best friends. Or while giving my babies a blessing. Or while comforting someone. Real men can cry, and it’s great.
He always carries a hanky, nail-clippers, and chapstick in his pocket. With those three things, he can solve just about any crisis.
My mom has a little plaque by the door, with elegant script reading “Return with Honor.”
My Daddy’s addition is a yellow sticky note, with his blocky, angular handwriting: “Don’t be Stupid.”
Works for me. Thanks, Daddy!