I get so frustrated when I see the way dads are portrayed on TV these days. Most of the time they're doofuses, who are either too dumb or too lazy to get anything right.
The two dads in my life--my father and my husband--exist on the polar opposite of that extreme. They're smart, emotional, funny, kind and hardworking, to say the least.
Anyone who knows my dad loves him. Respects him. Wants to be around him. Me included. He's known in our family for his storytelling and memories, my favorite of which is the one about the dog he had as a little boy. It was 1944 or so. His dog started a fight with another dog, so his parents had to put it to sleep. But instead of telling my dad, who was 4 or 5 at the time, the truth, they told him his dog was such a good fighter, he'd been sent off to fight the war. It's hilarious to me to think of my dad being so young and innocent.
One story I hope my daughters will tell about him one day was about the Christmas he spent on the deck, watching them open presents inside while he stood out in the cold. He was sick (I'm sure being out in the cold didn't help). He didn't want them to catch what he had, but he also didn't want to miss seeing them in the thick of Christmas magic.
Happy Father's Day, Papa. We love you.
Then there's J. It'd be easy to write, "when we met at age 18, I never could have imagined the wonderful father he'd become 14 years later ... " But of course I could. He's the strongest person I know--was then and is now. So true to himself and to what's right. He knows me better than I know myself, so when it comes to parenting together, he can read when I'm on the brink of a meltdown and need a soft place to land.
When we were 20 or so, I was in an audience when he was giving a speech. My heart had this poundy, constricted feeling, like it was either going to burst or break in half. It was pride. Or love. Or both.
I get that feeling all the time now, when I see him with the girls. When we look at each other after one of them has done something amazing (or amazingly silly). When his face and grin open wide as he bursts through the door at the end of the day.
Thank you. For so much.
Tell me about the dads in your lives ...
J is starting a job at a new school in the fall, so I went to the local library and found one of the school's yearbooks from the 1930s. It had a line drawing of the school's building, which I photocopied and had Bo paint with watercolors last night (see below). That, and a tie, were his gifts today.
The (blurry) fingers are J's and Bo's, when she was first born and still in the NICU.
The bottom shot is of my dad thanking me for a ski mask one Christmas back in the '70s. A ski mask? He doesn't ski. Was he moonlighting as a robber or something? I'm not sure, but he kept that thing for years.