I remember reading “Life with Father” when I was a kid, perhaps before I could actually read. I’m not really sure if I read it or if it was read to me. The antics of the father in the book were pure hilarity. And sometimes relate-able for my sister and I as we had our own jokester for a dad.
I remember one April Fool’s Day when we found a note on the counter. It said we were grounded from our bikes, outside and the TV. During spring break. I think Mom was more upset than we were. After a tearful conversation with Dad while he was at work (I was POSITIVE that I had not left my bike out the night before) he told Steph to pick up the paper. Underneath the fold it said April Fool’s Day. We were “got.” I have to say that the Cosby Show episode where Cliff declares that the family can’t get him rang very true for us. We never could get him quite as good as he got us.
Dad’s outgoing and enthusiastic nature also contrasts with my own quiet and introspective personality. Frequently I would have rather stayed at home and read a book, slept or something else than go out and do whatever was planned for the day. But sometimes it was a requirement. I’ve had more experiences than many people who are many years my senior. So it has helped me grow.
Another thing I’ve always appreciated about my parents are their lessons in both practicality and in character. I have to say that I do have some credit card debt. This is despite my dad’s constant saying that it is “plastic from hell.” I have to agree with him. Though I still believe that the debt I have incurred wasn’t done from a consumerist angle. It has been generosity that has been my downfall. And perhaps that balance of giving is something I still need to work on, but I think that both my sister and I have that ingrained in us. We want to help and give to those we love and to those who are in need. That isn’t such a bad thing. Though we’re learning to balance that with our own needs.
I love you, Dad! For a writer I’m pretty terrible at saying the words very often. I’m shy and introverted about my feelings, but I believe and hope that everyone knows how much I love both of my parents. I’ve always been sort of amazed how seamless it seemed when Dad adopted my sister and I so many years ago (I bet he knows, but I never can remember exactly. . . 21 now? I think that is close.) I have never doubted his love not only for me but for our family. As an adult who covers some of the most horrific things that families do to each other, I can’t say how unique that seems to me now. And how much I appreciate it.
I also have always appreciated that Dad has never been the kind of dad who had trouble saying “I love you” or to demonstrate affection. He’s always been supportive and caring and sometimes I don’t even “get” TV shows very well because the emotionally and physically absent father is just not in my comprehension.
On this day of honoring fathers, I also often think of my biological dad, Steve. I wish I had more memories to share of him, but the only possible memory is possibly just something my childish mind made up years ago. It isn’t even really a memory but an impression of being spun around in a circle under my grandparents’ living room fan in a game of “airplane.” Maybe it never happened. I don’t know. Although I had less than two years with him I also love and appreciate him. My grandpa, his father, frequently told the story of them sitting on the porch watching me be a toddler and Steve turning to him to say, “Ain’t she something? Ain’t she something special?” I do wish I knew more stories and things about him. I’ve always been kind of shy about asking. Weird for a reporter, huh?
I am so grateful for all of the fathers in my life. I couldn’t have asked for better dads. And my grandpas are all such good examples. They all have such good qualities to offer in teaching how to live my life.
The other day I was talking with my sister, Stephanie, about our future careers and husbands. We were marveling at the example our parents set. It gave us the impression that having a loving and fun relationship is possible long term. That marriage doesn’t end up boring or out of touch or bitter as so many television examples are. And Dad loves his job. So we pursue our own “big dreams” and our own lasting loves. It makes it challenging because we aren’t expecting to fail. But teaching us to pursue our big dreams is never a bad thing right?