Here’s to the Dads of life, no matter what form they take.
Here’s my Dad
That’s me, yup…on the right; kid sized anyway. My sister Kris is on the left. I must have been 7 or 8 because I still have my original front teeth which were broken in an accident when I was 9. I vividly recall that sweat shirt I was wearing as being one of my favorites. Funny how you can remember things from so long ago.
I have a very fond memory, food related, of my Dad. When we were younger one of our most requested dishes that he would make for us was Fried Chicken. I don’t recall how he did it precisely, I just remember that it was so delicious and moist that I could eat it until I was about to burst. The smell alone was enough to make me crazy. It wasn’t anything fancy, but we loved it. Time with my Dad meant pizza, pigs in a blanket, lots of ice cream and plenty of fun.
My Dad taught me to swim, patiently teaching me to arch my back with my arms out to the sides, relax and breathe as I tried to float. Over the course of one winter, he would regularly take us to the pool and play all afternoon with us, and I got so good in the water that in high school I was on the swim team, and I recall that he told everyone he knew that his daughter was a swimmer and that I had got my start as a skinny little kid learning how to swim at his side.
Each Spring my Dad would take us for a fun leisurely walk from Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, to the edge of the Mississsippi River. It wasn’t very long, but we were pretty young and it seemed like to took forever. We would linger on the riverbank, tossing stones, watching boats and exploring the water’s edge. The day always ended at the Dairy Queen nearby, with an ice cream cone or a Root Beer float. Those were my Dad’s favorite.
One of my very earliest memories involving my Dad was from when I was 4 years old and learning to ride a bike. My brother Mike was teaching me, running up and down the sidewalk with me as I pedaled frantically, picking me up after I wiped out and soothing my scrapes and bruises with graham crackers before taking me back out to try again. This is, by far, my fondest and most beloved memory of childhood. I was riding that bike by the time my Dad came home, and as he pulled into our driveway, he stopped to watch me come pedaling down the sidewalk, bobbling around like the novice I was, and of course, without even understanding what was going to happen, I pedaled right into the side of my Dad’s car and crashed to a heap. Mike helped me up and pulled the bike upright. My Dad looked at him, and at my shining face, bruised and scraped knees and elbows and said “It’s a good idea to teach her how to stop too.”
This is my brother Mike, with Griffin, who is maybe 9 or 10. Mike has been a doting Uncle, and a wonderful father figure to Griffin from the time he was born, and they have a wonderful bond. Mike is famous for teaching Griffin Apple Baseball, using the abundance of the fallen apples from his backyard tree to enjoy a rousing and loud game of Baseball, complete with exploding apples. Never have I seen Griffin having so much fun as I would see on those Fall weekends, the yard rich in colored leaves and Griffin, at about age 3 or 4 with a giant plastic yellow bat, standing with his favorite Uncle smacking rotten apples around their yard. It was a sad day indeed when Mike had to cut down the old apple tree as it meant the end of an era. Mike and Griffin golf together, take in current sci-fi movies and other hits and enjoy all kinds of fun together like sleepovers, bowling and Boys Day Out at the Twins baseball games. My brother has been a rock in Griffin’s life, and the love is very apparent.
Dads come in all forms, you know; it isn’t just the ones that create the life that can be a “Dad”, in fact, sometimes it’s in the ones who see the need and step in to fill it that I feel are more worthy of the title. My husband, my Mike, is one of those people, and I’ve extolled the merits of his attention to Griffin many times. It takes a very special person to look into the eyes of a child and accept them into their hearts and soul even when they’ve missed out on the first seven years of that child’s life, nor share one scrap of genetic material. These two have formed their own unique form of father-son love, and it’s wonderful to me to listen to them guffawing over old videos of Red Dwarf, seeing them glued to Mythbusters or The Dirtiest Job or find their heads bent over any number of projects and the basic everyday stuff of life that they’ve decided to try and figure out.
Griffin is so very lucky to have not only a great Dad, but a wonderful doting Uncle and a terrific Grandfather. Happy Fathers Day to you all, and my heartfelt thanks at making my son’s life so much more rewarding and fun.