To My Dad …

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Today is my dad’s birthday, plus Father’s Day is coming up, so I thought I’d do a little post for him.  Plus he asked me if I was going to (lol), so … 🙂

Seriously, though, my dad is pretty awesome.  Look, I could list all the ways he screwed me up (I’M JUST KIDDING!), but it’s more fun to talk about all the good stuff.

Despite growing up with 3 brothers and a stereotypical Italian mother, my dad was really the first to make me feel like it didn’t matter that I was a girl.  I mean that in the best way possible.  He would tell me over and over, growing up, that I could be whatever I wanted to be.  And the fact that I still remember this today means something.  He was a first class, hardcore feminist and he didn’t even know it.

When I was young, I used to love hanging out with him.  He was so funny, and, to this day, has the most infectious laugh (next to my nephew).  He told stories (some involving puppets and children crapping their pants) and always explained things by drawing them on a napkin.  He would take my brother, sister and me to his office on the weekends and we would wreck the place UP, mainly the secretaries desks – tearing apart their rubber band balls, slobbering on their phones, and twirling about on their desk chairs.  They must have loved us.

Of course there are tons of stories I could tell … Indian Princesses, the day before the start of high school (when he took me to the school to walk the halls because my anxiety was out of control and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to find any of my classes), going to see Total Recall, the Headless Horseman, and, of course, the day my brother stole my school report (a story he’s told at least 50 times).  But mostly I just want to say how amazing he has been over the last 6 months.

He has honestly been the most supportive person in relation to me branching out and doing my own thing now that the kids are in school.  He will gush about my writing and tell anyone that will listen about how great he thinks I am.  And when you’re gushing about this “normal level of crazy” you are definitely blinded by some fatherly love!  But seriously, who doesn’t want that?

Now that he lives close, he has taken the time and the energy (along with my stepmom) to really spend time with and get to know my kids.  Honestly, there really is nothing better than that.

He’s been faced with a lot of challenges over the last couple years and I still see him smile and laugh and have hope in his eyes when he talks about the next big thing.  And there’s always a next big thing that will make us all millionaires 🙂

My dad and I bond over a lot of things … chocolate, Disney World, Jim Gaffigan, history, our inability to lose weight (btw, I ran across a Father’s Day paper I had filled out for him when I was probably 8 years old – his favorite meal: Lean Cuisines … lol, that poor guy has been dieting forever!) … and I love that he kind of views me the same way he views himself – flawed and real, but crazy fun.

We were up on the altar at church yesterday for his youngest daughter’s baptism.  Watching him with her, by the way, is also something I am very proud of.  But anyway, afterwards, he said he was thinking as we were standing there, that it was funny that he was standing in the front of a church when he isn’t very religious and certainly doesn’t go to church much.  He said he felt my husband and my stepmother, and obviously my baby sister, were fine.  It was him and me that he was worried about.  That we’d get struck by lightening or something.  I gasped – me, too??!!  What did I ever do???  I’ve read your blog, he said.

Let me tell ya, if there’s anybody I want to go to hell with, it’s my dad.  He’ll have me cracking up the whole way down while encouraging me to “write a blog post about it” or maybe a book (My Decent Into Hell: A Rollicking Tale of Adventure with My Father).

Love you, Dad.  Happy birthday and Father’s Day!

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Dad, for the record, I could not find the photo of you on the toilet reading me a book.  I feel like that photo captures our relationship perfectly and I am devastated I can’t find it 🙂

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