Ode to Dad

I wanted to post this yesterday for Father’s Day, but I was busy getting to see Marisa’s baby come into the world! (Welcome Charlotte June!) So here it is, Dad…late as usual!

 

I have an incredible Daddy. He’s the funniest person I know. On my wedding day as we were waiting to walk down the aisle my dad says to me, “Go slow. This is my big moment.” Music blares, cathedral doors open…suddenly I remember this is supposed to be fun.

He delivered his Father of the Bride speech like a seasoned comedian and it brought down the house.

A while back I found out a friend of mine lost his father. That night I went to bed and had a terrible dream that I was losing my dad. We were sitting next to each other and there was literally a clock ticking down and it was time for me to say all the things I wanted to say. I woke up with a lump in my throat because I knew I could never have enough time to tell him all the things he did right as a father.

 

This resulted in me writing down a few thoughts and I will share them with you now.

 

To my Dad:

You should know that I hate buying Father’s Day cards. I think it’s because they are so corny and I have always felt like our relationship is above that. When I was little you came up with ways for us to find things to talk about with the “Would you rather” game. We would think of endless possibilities (have a car with no gas or no brakes? Only eat Mexican food or Italian food for the rest of your life?)


Then when I got a little older you found our common ground again and we talked for hours in the car about SNL skits, funny movies and bands. Even though I don’t really remember any one specific conversation, I remember feeling like we had a bond in music and comedy. The older I get, the more I realize how rare it is for fathers to actually engage in conversation with their daughters on a level that makes them feel like they are equals. You made me feel like I was funny and interesting and it formed the basis for my identity for the rest of my life. My favorite thing to do is make you laugh. I know that if I’ve made you laugh I’ve said something that is truly funny.


You taught me not only how to tell a story but how to set it up and deliver a line. You can frame your experiences so vividly with the details you choose to tell and the order in which you tell them. They are like scenes from mini-episodes of your life and I can probably retell most of them verbatim. I love your stories, but mostly I love the far-off look on your face when you know you are about to say the funny part and as you remember it, it makes you laugh all over again. I always feel most proud of you when you make people laugh, and I feel most proud of myself when I can make people laugh because it means that I am like you in that way.


I also inherited your sensitivity. Under what some would call a gruff exterior, you are one of the most sensitive people I know. Once, when I was about 12 or 13 I saw you standing in front of your dresser in silence with your back to me as I walked past your door. Something seemed off, so I paused. I remembered that earlier that day you heard that an old friend of yours passed away.  In that moment, it occurred to me that you had this whole other lifetime of people you loved and places you lived and other things that were important to you that I hadn’t been a part of and would never know. It’s hard to pinpoint the first time you see your parents as people, but that was the first time I thought about you having a life before me. I think that’s what caused me to start really listening closely to your stories and trying to imagine what your life was like for those 40 some years before we met.

 


I love how much my friends all love you. It is the best feeling to me when they laugh about something you said or did and say “Oh Glenn!” It makes me feel like they recognize how special and funny you are and how lucky I am to have you as a Dad. I also think you have set a great example for me in keeping friends throughout your whole life. It seems like anywhere we go, we always have someone to visit.  You still have a huge collection of close friends that you have known throughout every phase of your life. That is an extraordinary accomplishment and one I hope I can follow.


I admire how you seem to know so much about everything. You have collected so much knowledge over the years in so many areas. I still think you should have tried out for Jeopardy. 
I love how you quote poetry to Avery and Savvy and how you save your brightest smiles for them. I love how you never say anything negative about Mom. And I love how much you talk about your parents, almost daily, even after all these years. I know that I will be the same way when I am your age. 


I could go on and on, but I will stop at this:

I am glad you have not bended to the pressures of society, going down the road of plastic surgery and expensive skin treatments. You, Sir, are a beautiful role model for aging gracefully. And I applaud you.



Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

I love you!

 

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