This morning while I was sitting in church listening to Jim encourage the fathers in our church I was thinking of my own dad. I loved him a lot. He wasn’t perfect, but he was mine and he loved me a lot. The memory that came most to my mind was where I was sitting in his chair with him. I’d snuggle right in there. He was definitely my favorite. I remember being sad when I got too big to fit next to him. I wonder if he felt a little sad, too. I bet he did. I’m starting to feel sad when Ireland can’t fit on my lap like she used to.

Here are some interesting things about my dad:

  • I can tell in the photo above what part of the year it was by his clothing. He wore flannels in the Fall and Winter. Always with his “long underwear”. In the Spring he would change to his “shorts” (as in whitey tighty underwear and a white cotton undershirt). He’d do it whether the weather dictated it or not.
  • We’d go blackberry picking together so my mom could bake a pie. I’d get paid a quarter for filling the bowl. I never filled the bowl. He always did. I still got the quarter.
  • He taught me how to ride my pink bike with the banana seat. He’d hold on to the back of my seat and run alongside me until I got it. I didn’t ever want him to let go.
  • A few years later when I was in a terrible bike wreck I stood by while he insisted that they call in a plastic surgeon. He didn’t want me to have a big scar across my face. (Thanks for that, dad!)
  • He made sure I got back on that bike. I was never without a bike. If he were here today, none of my children would be bikeless.
  • He came to every single softball practice and game. Then took me out to eat afterwards.
  • He would wind up my teddy bear over and over and over again. Complaining the whole time and telling me it was the last time.
  • I remember walking between him and mom holding both of their hands. I preferred his.
  • He loved my friends and would go to their games, too.
  • His love was unwavering. He loved my husband even when he could see how wrong he was sometimes. He was a good father figure to the man who molested me and went to prison for it. I’d like to think that somehow my dad helped this man in some small way be a better man.
  • I loved watching Hee-Haw with my dad. LOVED it! I would’ve really enjoyed being part of that show. I had dreams of being a guest on that one and the Muppets. I was going to be a country star, you know.
  • When I’d climb an old maple tree across the street he’d bring the ladder over so I could get down.
  • Once I fell off a horse in a field across from our house. He took me back over there and told me to get back on and to not be afraid.
  • I love how he loved my first born nephew, Dustin. He teased him a lot. They had something special going on.
  • I was the first girl in our family to graduate from highschool. I remember the proud look he had in his eyes. That’s all I wanted. I graduated to see that look. Later, as I walked past him in our house he quickly said, “Hon, I wish your  mom was here to see you.” I mumbled, “Me, too” then went to my room to cry.
  • We had the same conversation after Christopher was born, only I didn’t run away to cry. I just cried right there.
  • When I was pregnant with Christopher my dad compared me to Keiko the whale. I was not impressed. Dad tried to get Kelly to laugh with him. Kelly was wise enough to decline that invitation.
  • Bonanza. I watched that with him, too. When he came to live with me Christopher took my place next to my dad in his chair to watch his favorite shows.
  • As a grown up I called my dad every day at the same time. It was our tradition. Sometimes he’d beat me to it.
  • Everybody loved my dad.
  • He bought me a kitchen aid secretly hoping I’d cook more like Martha Stewart. He watched her every morning only because she was on right before The Price is Right.

You know, I look back on that year and a half that my dad lived with us and can only feel a happiness about it. It was hard for all of us, but we made it work. I got to know him so much better. We were together 24/7. We fought, we laughed, we tried to figure out little Christopher. Dad and Christopher would argue like two 3 year olds. I’d have to separate them sometimes. I made baked tofu for my dad. He ate it. He didn’t understand it and wasn’t crazy about it, but he ate it. I remember the day he said, “You remind me of your mom….except for the cleaning part.” haha. Yes, housework was hard for me.

During this time I learned to read my dad’s facial expressions. Maybe it was because I was growing up and beginning to understand how a parent feels toward their child. I’d find him watching me and sometimes I’d ask, “What?” He’d shake his head and say, “Just watching you, honey.” It made me uncomfortable and I didn’t quite get it. I do now. I watch my kids and think that good or bad, this time is quickly passing. Oh, and how in the heck did the time pass so very quickly?

So, I sit here on this day set aside to remember our dads and feel very blessed. My dad was a very good man. Honest and giving. Imperfect and flawed like the rest of us. But really, I think he was better.

I am sure of one thing.

My dad is better than your dad!