Dad helping me with my first steps, circa 1986.
He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
-Clarence Budington Kelland
Dad would always take me out to the court in our backyard to play HORSE or to have me practice my free throws. As I got older, our time on the court would consist more of one vs. one. Each of us always willing to sweeten the deal, we would play for money. You know, the kind of money a 14- or 15-year-old can bet. Anyway, we would play one vs. one for a win and then best out of 10 free throws, for a win. If we each won one, it was a wash.
I still believe to this day that dad never “let” me win and that’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted to earn it. I hated to lose but I didn’t want a cheated win. I remember getting so heated about bumming a lay up, missing a free throw or just plain sucking for the afternoon. I know I was not a pleasure to be around. Dad always stayed calm though. I don’t know how he did it and I don’t know how he could handle me. My attitude, though poor at times, never swayed him to give up, walk off the court or stop asking me to play. He never told me to “check it” – he just kept coming back. A new day, a new game. What my dad did was simple, and silent. True to form.
My dad and I had a special language when I was growing up. Mom never understood it, but we did. I may be stubborn like my mother but, a lot of me is my father. I guess I don’t know how to explain it to anyone in a way that makes sense, but I’m okay with that. He knows what I’m talking about.
Though a lot of it was silence back then, it’s did a 180 in my years through college. I remember sitting on the floor of the living room during my Husky days and talking with dad for nearly an hour. It was so easy. For a long time, mom was our channel of information. It was never done on purpose, it’s just how it was. To get me on the phone is like pulling teeth, but that time was different. It wasn’t our first conversation, or the most important for that matter, but it was the first time in my 20 years that I realized how much I enjoyed talking to him, as an adult, with my life to share.
Our adult relationship, our chats, they’ve only grown since that day on the floor, and by leaps and bounds. I whole-heartedly believe that realizing you have a friend in your parent is one of the most exciting things to discover about adulthood. I can only hope that others are as lucky.
Dad – a few of my favorite quirks and memories:
* The “Sunday-drive” way you have of getting from point A to point B. We all know where I got the lead foot from.
*Your famous pancakes.
*Your young-man ‘stache.
*Scaring the sh*t out of me and T in one of those ugly left-over, Halloween masks.
*Your temper – oh how an easy-going man could lose it when the Hawks dropped a pass (or two, or three).
*Learning your favorite number is 4, and being completly shocked. I had no clue people liked #4.
*For completing my chores when asked the simple question of , “Now, how do you do that again?”
*Sharing my taste in music and introducing me to The Beatles. I’m pretty sure I still have that CD. Somewhere. Oh, and it’s John, Paul, Ringo and George . . . in case you wanted to quiz me again 🙂
*Teaching me how to shoot the basketball. Properly.
*oh yeah, and the MJ fade away . . .
*Answering every single question I can think to ask about your childhood and all the black and whites in grandpa’s closet. Like me, you never seem to get bored with it.
*The steering wheel motion you made with your hands, just for me, during high school basketball games. Reminding me to drive.
*The flight back from Arizona – thank you for deflecting the lady’s glare in the seat in front of me when I kicked her. The entire flight.
*Letting us ride on the back of the lawn mower.
*For me being able to say my future husband reminds me of the man you are.
*For wholly loving, the way you know how to love.
So here’s to you dad, one of the most loyal, hard-working and dedicated people I know.
This, everyone, is why that man will be walking me down the aisle on July 24.
I love you dad, happy father’s day.
I’m gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you’ll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
That loved his daughter more than I love you