Today I have been my dad’s daughter for 44 years. We have lived together in the same house, we have lived 2,500 miles apart and we now live 5 minutes away from each other. For this, I am incredibly grateful.
Driving Sam around on an ATV in Montana, 2009
My dad is 72 years old. We are a lot alike. Both crazy. People ask where I got my love of potty humor and crude sense of humor. That would be dad. He’s been farting voluminously for as long as I can remember.
He can be restless, like me.
He likes to find meaning in the things he does and connect to people. Like me.
Trying new things and having adventures makes him feel alive. Like me.
He is sensitive and caring and deeply touched by things. I like to think I am like this too.
Like father, like daughter
Some people have clear and linear memories of times gone by. Not me. My memories are mostly in powerful snippets and bursts.
~I am 5 years old, my dad is holding my hand walking down the streets of Chicago. He takes his finger and tickles the inside of my hand while we look at the Christmas scenes in the window at Marshall Fields.
~I am 7 years old. We are at the beach. He is holding my hand on the shoreline as a giant wave overtakes us. I am soaked, scared. He never lets go of my hand.
~I am 9 years old. We are on a camping trip. I am playing in the car and keep slamming the doors. My dad keeps telling me to knock it off. Finally, I get my finger caught in the door and I scream and cry. He is not overly sympathetic, but gives me the “I told you so” attitude. I thought that was so mean. Until I became a parent. Now I get it.
~I am 10 years old. We are taking a month long camping trip from Maryland to points west like Colorado, Arizona and Montana. There is no air conditioning in our yellow Toyota station wagon as we make our way to the outskirts of Phoenix. I hang my head out the window and lick my lips just so the air will make my lips feel cool. My dad says we will stay at the Holiday Inn that night where there is air conditioning and a pool. It is one of my favorite nights of the whole trip. Camping gets old.
~I am 13 years old and we live in Greece. My dad runs every morning. I join him once for a two mile run. I am in pain, gasping. He tells me the best way to run up a hill without losing my breath.
A year or so later, we get a new dog, Sam.
~I am 19 years old and am three hours away from home at college. I am intensely and relentlessly home sick. My dad writes me encouraging, funny and supportive letters every week on stationary that says “Dear Fart” at the top. He knows just what to say.
~I am 28 years old. My dad is walking me down the aisle at my wedding. The event is in the backyard of my childhood home. My parents have spent weeks, no months, getting everything ready. My arm is interlocked in his as Pachelbel's Canon guides us to the alter. He hugs me and graciously hands me off to Ken.
~I am 32 years old and have a two year old son. My mom calls to tell me my dad is very sick. They think he has a large cancerous tumor in his lungs. He may not live long. I go from Colorado to Maryland and am there when the surgeon comes into the waiting room to tell us that he dodged the bullet. It was not cancer after all, but an infection. He will be fine. I weep with relief.
~I am 34 years old and my dad is visiting Colorado from Maryland. He is holding my new baby girl, Emma. Just like he used to hold me.
I love how she is looking at him.
~I am 36 years old. My dad and mom decide to relocate to Longmont, Colorado from Columbia, Maryland. What used to be a four hour plane trip to see them will now become a five minute drive. Finally, together again for Sunday dinners, morning scones and coffee and borrowing the lawn mower.
~I am 44 years old. I get to spend tonight with my dad eating flank steak and drinking wine. I am one lucky daughter.
Happy Father’s Day Dad. You have helped me become who I am. Not every moment has been perfect, but they have all led to here.
There are so many good memories. And, more to come. I love you.