Sunday, June 19, 2011

For My Dad

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.

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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.

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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.

~I am 16 years old. My dog has just been poisoned and has died in front of us. He was my dad’s special dog, Bulles. We cry. 004

A year or so later, we get a new dog, Sam.

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~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.

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~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.

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~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.

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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.

Beth

35 comments:

  1. A great tribute to your Dad..

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  2. This is so beautifully written, made me cry on a Sunday morning. You are both very lucky, father & daughter.

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  3. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories and the beautiful tribute to your dad. I loved it!

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  4. How sweet and I can totally relate to the snippets of memories! Got me a little teary-eyed... Have a blessed day!

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  5. Just as I started to read this post I got some dust in my eye ... both eyes actually. What are the odds?

    Very moving post. We're going through a similar experience with my father-in-law and a tumor, but unfortunately the bullet was not dodged. Bittersweet Father's Day this year. Take advantage of that 5 minute drive as much as you can.

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  6. Wow, what a beautiful post! Your Dad will be so proud when he reads it.!

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  7. Such a sweet post. I think the snippets of memories we have of your relationships with others are the most powerful bits. Beautiful!

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  8. wow, it's a small world. I live in Va and my hubby and his family are from MD, and one of his sisters lives in Columbia with her family. You say you were in college 3 hours away, what college did you go to?

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  9. A beautiful tribute to your Dad. I enjoyed reading your memories.

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  10. Wonderful memories of your Dad. I, too, am very blessed that my Dad now lives literally across the street.

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  11. Hey Holly - Def small world! I went to JMU.

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  12. So sweet. I have a Dad like this too. And he lives about 100 yards away. I make that walk almost daily just to say Hi because he's one of my best friends.

    p.s. I have a son named Sam too. They're about the same age, I gather.

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  13. This so sweet. I love all the pictures. That one of him holding Emma makes me kind of cry it's so moving. He sounds like a super dad and great guy. I agree with that previous comment…take advantage of that 5-minute drive :)

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  14. Everything I'd imagine a wonderful dad to be! lovely!

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  15. Beautiful post! You are so lucky your Dad lives near you. I really wish I could see mine more often.

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  16. Thanks,second born. You make your dad sound great. I know he is very proud of you. Much love, dad

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  17. Very touching! Your dad sounds like a special guy and you are lucky to have him and he is lucky to have you!

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  18. This is a beautiful tribute Beth. Got tears and not because my dog just ripped one.

    "Dear Fart" makes me laugh!

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  19. What a great tribute! *tear*

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  20. This is awesome and of course the goggles are great.

    Happy Father's Day To Mr. SUAR.

    Enjoy your dinner and the SBD's.

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  21. What a great tribute - straight from the heart! ;-)

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  22. That was fantastic. A couple questions, did you name Sam after the dog and can you tell us the secret to running up hill without losing your breath?
    Thanks, Amy

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  23. Today I ran my second 5k with my dad, we both ran the entire time which was a huge accomplishment. Your blog always inspires me, makes me laugh and in this case made me cry. My dad and I had a huge hug after the race and that moment will always stay with me. Thanks for helping me to remember why my dad is so special to me and I look forward to experiencing life's amazing moments with my dad by my side.

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  24. That was awesome. Yeah for great dads everywhere!!

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  25. I absolutely love this post!!!! Enjoy every moment!!!

    And, what is the secret to running up the hill without losing your breath!!!!????

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  26. For the 19 yo photo: is that the front of Weaver Hall? Our son just finished his freshman year at JMU--in Weaver Hall...

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  27. Kathleen...close...it was Dingledine, right by Weaver Hall. So funny!!! I love JMU.

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  28. Usually you make me laugh, but this entry made me cry. Your Dad sounds like a wonderful father! Enjoy your time with him. My dad died 15 years ago and I still miss him every day.

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  29. Such a great tribute to an awesome Dad!!! Such sweet memories!

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  30. Very sweet post! And 'Dear Fart', LOVE that! Lucky pair: you and your father...

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  31. Confession : I usually skip over "holiday" and "dedication" posts - something about 40 people's recap of Easter brunch or how much they love their ______ I get bored with. But this? Loved it. Great trib to dad.

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  32. Shit! I just read this and I am so homesick for my parents! I live in Kansas city and they live in NJ. You are a very lucky woman to be so close to your family. This was a beautiful post! Thank you!

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  33. Beautiful Father's Day post - it gave me goosebumps. :-)

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