Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daddy-O

When I was 9 or 10, my dad and a couple friends took their sons to a San Francisco Giants game. I remember wishing I could go, not because I loved baseball so much, but because going anywhere with my dad was an honor. I started to feel sorry for myself and began to think those cliche "other child" words, "Maybe he'd like me more if I were a boy" but hardly even completed the thought for crying. Crying, because I knew that was a pathetic thought. And completely, utterly absurd. But then, I'm given to dramatics at times.

The fact is, my dad has never missed an opportunity to tell me how great he thinks I am. And if I am great, at all, it is because he told me so.

Before having kids, I didn't understand my parents' need to recount my birth every single year. "Yeah yeah yeah, I came out and was a baby but let's talk about how awesome I've become," was often the thought. Kids are so dumb. Even as they are being dumb, they are stretching and shaping the parents in ways the parents never imagined.

I've thought about this a lot lately, as I've struggled with how I'm going to help Ainsleigh without losing sight of her underlying personality, and mostly to somehow make her know how much I love her and how great I think she is.

I think of my dad and how it wasn't a sitdown "I'm going to make you understand what you mean to me" so much as a lifetime spent devoted to building his family. It was nights in the backyard watching a lunar eclipse and hours in the church parking lot burning up my mom's clutch in a attempt (successful, mind you) to teach me to drive a stick shift. It was trips to Lake Tahoe and Florida and Hawaii and beyond. It was countless nights at the kitchen table explaining math concepts and dates to the Nijo Castle where our classes fogged over with oil. It was the way he said, "So, I hear you're a woman," as I sat trapped in his car as we drove to an activity after I had begged my mom not to tell my dad I had begun my period for the first time ever (again, dumb kid) and the look on his face and pride in his voice as he cheered from the sidelines and listened to my grades and celebrated with me on winning the Science Fair.

A few years ago my mom pointed out that she thought it was funny that Joel and I had suddenly become BYU football fans. The thing is - I like college football and I think it's fun to watch. I've also become nostalgic for my alma mater in ways that tell me I'm getting old. I don't know the stats and I can recognize only a handful of names on the team. But I like to watch, and even more than that I like to hear all the details and behind-the-scenes stories my dad knows. (sadly, our channel limitations this year prevent us from watching any of the games) I love it because I love my dad.

Nights spent at the kitchen table trying to understand limits and functions have turned into phone calls spent asking advice in various aspects of my life. Cheering from the sidelines (him for me at soccer, me for him at softball games) has turned into exchanging playlist ideas and the speed/distance we've covered in our most recent run. And watching him publicly speak and learning how to deliver messages has turned into nights of "how would Dad say this?" as I prepare for an assignment.

On this Father's Day I celebrate a dad who has always made and continues to make me feel like I'm pretty fantastic. I celebrate a dad who has always done everything he can to address my needs, to offer support and encouragement, to make me know that he will always do anything in his power to keep me safe. I celebrate a dad who has coached us through the finer points of navigating a prime rib and crab legs buffet, who has regaled us with stories of blue darts and bathroom humor, who is one of the smartest, funniest, most well-read people I know. I celebrate a dad who has always loved my mom, who is a loving grandpa, and who sets the bar for fatherhood really high. I celebrate that out of all the dads in the world, I was fortunate enough to have the one I do.

Happy Father's Day, Dad.

5 comments:

Jeff and Jess said...

One detail from the baseball game story is that Laura was perhaps more upset than you. She hid in the back of the van, trying to accompany us, but we luckily discovered her a few blocks from home.

Sarah said...

Actually, I think that was Allison? I always was a little disappointed in myself for not having thought of it myself. But also knew I would have been smarter and waited until Dad was parking to reveal myself. The bottom of Hancock allowed for ample time to turn around. Poor dumb Allison.

wanda said...

It was Laura. Poor dumb Laura:)

wanda said...

Oh, and she was in her nightgown. Not great baseball viewing attire.

laura said...

I beg to differ--don't you wish you could be wearing your pajamas during most outings?