Father's Day is coming up. And although I walked through the stores and perused the internet, I just couldn't seem to find the right something that I thought would represent how much you mean to me as my father. I mean, what do you give the man who had to suffer through my piano recitals, learning to cook, and teenage years?
Yeah, there's no store for that.
So when I sat down and remembered all the things that make you such an awesome dad, it dawned on me that perhaps I never told you what those are. And if I didn't tell you about all of your awesomeness, maybe I never thanked you for it either. So in honor of the upcoming holiday, here are just a few of the many things that I'm thankful for that I learned from you.
First, thank you for teaching me about football. To this day, one of the fondest memories I have with you is my first Friday night football game at Tucson High. We sat in the bleachers and you taught me about downs, penalties, points and plays. I developed an appreciation for the sport because of that first game - watching it live under the stadium lights on an fall Tucson night.
Thank you for teaching me not only how to drive but how to drive a stick. I'm sure that internally you cringed every time I stalled the car or grinded the gears...but you never lost your temper with me. You taught me the importance of maintaining my vehicle, to make sure I always have at least a quarter of a tank of gas at all times, and how to change a tire. And to this day, I've never run out of gas or had my vehicle break down in the middle of nowhere. My tires, however, are just magnets for everything....but luckily always within driving distance of the closest garage. I still could change it myself, but I can also pay someone else to do it, so it's kinda the same thing.
Thank you for teaching me not to be afraid of meeting new people. You once told me to give everyone a chance...to meet as many people as I could...because I would never know what someone could bring to my life if I didn't at least get to know them. And because of that philosophy, I've met a very wide variety of people in a very wide range of places and situations. Some were simple five minute conversations, some became friendships that have lasted years. I'd hate to think of what stories I wouldn't be able to tell, what people I wouldn't have laughed with, or relationships I wouldn't have cried over had I been a more shy or reserved person unwilling to take a chance by just not saying "hello."
Thank you for Saturday afternoon lunches of Happy Meals and fried bologna. Any kid who never gets to experience a Saturday afternoon lunch with their dad made up of whatever it is he came up with is missing out on one of the greatest memories in life. Period.
Thank you for all the inside jokes and silly songs that still run thorough my head from time to time. I always think of you when I see the mail carrier dropping off letters or a Pez dispenser. You know why.
I'm not quite sure if I can imagine the level of panic you must have felt at the tender age of 24 when you found out you were going to be a father; or if you knew then how much your life was going to change when you brought that first crying bundle of not-quite-sure-what home from the hospital. But in the 40+ years since then, you've done one helluva terrific job. You've been a father, teacher, coach and mentor. You taught me patience, confidence, love, laughter and more.
I am lucky to have a father who isn't afraid to tell me how proud he is of me, or how much he loves me. And every day of my life, I've known both.
I love you Dad. Thank you for yesterday, today, and every day for the rest of my life.
Happy Father's Day.