Happy Father’s Day, Golightlies! How are you spending it? While my celebration of Father’s Day is mostly of the telephonic variety, I’d like to dedicate this post to my dad (who, after years of not understanding what the hooha I did, now actually reads this blog, almost daily and sometimes even considers it “real writing”).
While he maybe didn’t always get me, and I certainly didn’t always get him while I was growing up, I couldn’t appreciate my dad more today. I now realize how special it is to have a dad that was (and is) always around, who came to all of my softball games and volleyball games and track meets, who coached our softball team, The Heat (which he named and likely caused some eye-rolling on my part), who taught me how to throw a ball. Who played Laser Tag with me and my sister when it was well past time to be home, and took me (okay, made me go) on my first roller coaster ride (Rolling Thunder, Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, circa 1985 — backwards). Even though I was painfully shy and not very brave when I was little, he didn’t let me get away with being a fraidy cat. He pushed even when I thought he pushed too much.
I went to volleyball camp with my best friend the summer after 8th grade, a requirement for trying out for the volleyball team in the 9th grade. The night before tryouts, my friend called and told me she had changed her mind and wouldn’t be trying out. So I told my parents I wasn’t going to try out either. I didn’t want to try out without my friend. That sounded scary. Tears were shed. What was the point of playing if my best friend wouldn’t be on the team? While my mom took pity on me (and I love her for it), my dad wouldn’t have any of it and made me go. And I’m so glad he did, because not only are those are some of my best memories from high school, it was a good lesson on not to not do things just because they’re uncomfortable or scary. When you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, that’s when you grow. There’s always a billion reasons why you shouldn’t do anything, but sometimes you should anyway. Take a leap. You might one day have your own real-life Barbie Dream House because of it.
I’m thankful for a dad who wouldn’t let us get away with being average, who pushed us to be our best. Who drove me and my sister around the scary slums and underpasses of Trenton when we were 5 and 6 years old to show us the homeless people and what our lives could be like if we didn’t at least try our best. A little extreme, perhaps, but it worked.
I’m thankful for the introduction to fine dining (Chi-Chi’s and the Olive Garden). And for my dad’s homemade fudge. For frozen strawberry daiquiris (virgin, of course) and popcorn while we watched Dallas every Friday night.
I’m thankful for a dad who took us to the movies every weekend and made us feel like we were his favorite people to hang out with. You move a lot as an Air Force brat so it’s nice to know, when you haven’t made new friends yet, that your parents at least want to be your friends. I’m thankful for a dad who forced us — Freaks and Geeks style — to have family game nights even when we were teenagers and playing board games with mom and dad was the last thing we wanted to be doing. I’m thankful for a dad who never considered us not going to college an option and made it possible for my sister and I to be the first ones in our family to graduate from college.
It really boggles my mind when I think about how young my parents were when they had us. My mom married my dad on her 18th birthday. They had my sister at 21, me at 23. I still can’t even manage to feed myself. So thank you Dad for marrying Mom and having Stacy and me. And thank you Stacy for having Kaylee. Now, not only do we have the best dad in the world, but Kaylee has the best grandpa too.
Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there, especially mine. I love you.