So, it’s April 3 for at least another couple of hours on the west coast, and I’d like to honor my dear Dad on his birthday.
If you know my dad, you know that he wears his heart on his sleeve, tearing up with joy (or sadness) at the tiniest provocation–and this only gets more intense as he gets older. Years ago, he would raise a glass at the family dinner table to give a holiday toast and barely get a few words out before getting choked up. Now he just raises a glass and gets choked up wordlessly and we all laugh/cry and clink glasses and know what he was going to say: I’m so happy we’re all together.
I am starting with the tears because I’m sitting here teary as I consider all the things I could write.
My dad is someone who truly lives in the moment. He can get deeply happy about a cheddar cheese sandwich with kalamata olives and Miracle Whip. He will enthusiastically invite you to try one of his margaritas like they were just invented. He can’t wait to tell you about the YouTube videos he stumbled on, or the treasure he just found at the antique store for $30, or the crazy story he heard from some guy he met today at the tennis court. He treats everyone with deep interest and respect, whether at a dinner party or the grocery store. “How’s your day going?”
My dad has been wearing his collar up since before it was cool. Usually with a handkerchief tied around his neck. His sense of style is timeless.
Most important to me over the years is that my dad has always Been There for my sisters and me. I mean that literally and figuratively–he worked from home starting when I was in kindergarten, which meant that he was my Room Dad in school (likely inaugurating the title of Room Dad as this was in the 70s). Our parents were (and are) Around.
He took us on roadtrips to visit his parents in New England–his own father truly his opposite, an engineer who missed social cues, barked orders, and didn’t particularly express love. His mom, on the other hand, my sweet namesake, is where he got the goods.
These days, we do an incredibly good job of getting together despite being far apart, still giving each other the gift of Time. We talk on the phone. We Skype. We fly several times a year and pile into someone’s house.
Recently, my dad emailed me after reading a post to tell me how happy is that he’s my dad. And I just know that his dad didn’t tell him that, and many dads don’t tell their kids that, and my kid won’t ever hear that because he or she won’t even have a dad. And I feel so lucky that I’m his daughter. And excited that my kid will have a Grandpa Cha Cha.
There is no bigger supporter of the Solo Mama Project. My parents are tied for first place.
I remember my dad coming home from the hospital to bring me the news of the birth of each of my sisters. I remember sitting with him on the stairs while he wept with joy.
Thanks for keeping the joy flowing, Dad.