If there’s one thing I noticed growing up with my Dad, it’s that anything, ANYTHING, can serve more than one purpose. Having spent a good portion of his life working in a machine shop, my dad has learned more than the average number of ways to make a creative fix. And while not every father has to hassle shaping aluminum and steel, it’s become clear to me over the years that a common dad duty is to problem solve, often with limited resources, and even less time. So this letter, while seemingly a sequel, but an honest admission nonetheless, goes out to all the dads, both my own, those who helped raise me, and the millions I’ve never met.
First off, let’s again start with the casualties: Hey, hi, how are you doing today? Can you maybe open this jar real quick? Cool, thanks. Now, let me just say, I’m completely in awe of you.
Sure, yes, it is because you always find a way to open a jar, even when I’ve already spent 15 minutes trying and have furiously Googled creative solutions, only to have you step in and either open it with ease, or MacGyver it so, just to ensure your little girl has her desired marinara sauce with dinner. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.
I’m in awe of your brain. How it can simplify the parts of life I don’t quite understand, in a way that doesn’t make me feel naïve or ignorant. How do you always know what to say and when to say it, even when, in the moment, I might make it seem like both are completely misplaced?
I’m in awe of your imagination. How it can turn a blanket into the roof of a fort, a pile of wood into a new wall unit and some tin foil and a roll of duct tape into a solution for practically everything. You can make the most ordinary of days fun and the most fun of days magical.
I’m in awe of your strength. How you’d fight for me in the fiercest of wars the world sent our way, and how you’d fight with me to help me overcome the ones inside my own mind.
I’m in awe of your kindness. How you can turn absolutely any stranger into a friend and any friend into family. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will know me because they know you and will go out of their way to remind me how great you are. And while I’ll usually offer them a polite smile and sarcastic comment about you and all your supposed greatness, I always walk away with pride, and to be honest, a slight blush, for it’s a small reminder that I’ve got greatness in my blood. Greatness I can only hope to live up to.
I’m in awe of your faith, both in the possibilities the world has to offer and the potential inside of me. Not to mention your ability to help me grow and learn to appreciate both.
So as Father’s Day draws closer and we start our annual sift through the greeting card section, smiling, frowning and rolling our eyes at all the cards that, while they make ridiculous fart noises, will undoubtedly make you laugh. And even though you and Mom could own a house in every country if you were given a nickel for every time I’ve said, “hey Dad can you do me a favor?” could you maybe sit down for a second and do me a few more?
1) Believe me when I say I like what you’re wearing. I’m being serious and you look like a stud.
2) Keep telling those horrible jokes. You know the ones. Because even though I roll my eyes and sometimes hide my head in the crease of my arm, I can’t deny there’s a part of me that loves every single one of them.
3) Never stop arguing with me, because there’s never been a fight or disagreement between us that hasn’t taught me something. You challenging my opinions has been a driving force in helping me figure out exactly what they are.
4) Never stop discovering that I’m constantly right. Because I am, (most of the time, anyway) and I live for that forfeiting eye roll.
5) Don’t ever assume you’re “too old” to do anything. Throw yourself into new adventures and passions and then tell me all about them so I can be jealous.
6) Keep taking pictures of everything, because I want to remember it all.
7) Be as proud of yourself as you are of me, because everything I’ve become is because of everything you are.
Happy Father’s Day!