My dad turned 63 this week!
I’ve received so many lovely responses from his Valentine’s Day letter to me.
I know people liberally use the term “greatest dad in the world,” but mine really is great.
Here are some of the reasons I think this:
- When I was little my dad used to carry me all over the neighborhood. I took naps snuggled up with my head resting on his shoulder. He would go socialize with the neighbors and point things out while I was safe in his arms. One day we were on our walk in the winter. I was bundled up and had fallen asleep. A neighbor had run-off water on the sidewalk that had frozen. My dad didn’t see it and slipped. He was going to land on me. Somehow he managed to twist his body around and land directly on his back. This put his body in the most vulnerable state, but he did it so that I would be safe. He suffered cracked ribs and multiple injuries by protecting me. Much to his surprise and delight I was still sleeping when he landed.
- Another memory that sticks out for me was when my parents took a very short walk into town when we were all in Carmel. It was 9:00 AM and they were both hit walking on the sidewalk by a drunk driver. When the paramedics arrived they wanted to take both of my parents to the hospital (my father had dislocated his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff.) My dad had my mom go in the ambulance and decided rather than to have police come to the door and scare me (I was thirteen at the time), he walked back to the cottage to tell me that they were hit by a car, but everything was going to be okay. He then drove himself to the hospital.
Not surprisingly, these movie characters always have reminded me of my dad:
Basically, if he was a character in a movie he would die in a blaze of fire protecting those he loved.
A Mirthful Man
My dad was very present in my childhood. I would love even going on trips to the grocery store with him because he made every activity enoyable. Always positive, always enthusiastic about the littlest things. My dad was and still is FUN.
Fun Memories With Him:
- Monarch Butterflies! My dad taught me all about them. I used to LOVE butterfly season.We would take pictures with butterflies after they had been refrigerated so it looked like they had landed on my hand (I don’t want your letters PETA)
- Playing “who has the best page” in a book
- Helping put the abalone shells in the outdoor fireplaces in Carmel
- Riding in the tent-like contraption attached to your bike singing our made-up “Buddy ole pal song”
- My dad and I both would read books on roses and all the different varieties so we could help my grandma build her rose garden
- Going antiquing! I love history. I think I have my dad to thank for that. There is something amazing about finding something 100 (plus) years old and thinking about its past owners.
- 7-11 trips (mundane you may think, but not with my dad as a father!…quite the adventure)
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium- My dad was one of the historians there. Pretty cool.
- The turtles we went out special to get. They lived in the well (and may have been eating by raccoons, but they were nice while they lasted)
- Helping plant the garden in Carmel
- Birdhouse collecting
- Eating at the Mongolian BBQ place that my mom was afraid of
- Teaching me how to drive in the Enron parking lot
- I would wake up at 4AM to go to the gym with him so we could stop at the bakery on the way back and visit together.
My dad taught me the most through his actions:
- Integrity:My father led a very successful high-profile company. I don’t remember with joy any of the achievements of his business (and there were a lot), but I do remember the more important lessons from his career. My father took after his father (my grandfather) on his treatment of employees. To this day I will meet someone who has worked for one of them, and they always have the same loving words to say about them. They took care of the men and women that worked for them like they were family. Understanding that there is no true hierarchy in the human race has been ingrained in me because of my father and grandfather.
- Marriage:This letter, explains it all.
- Love: By the way he cares for my mother and his children
- The Importance of Family: After my Grandfather passed away (my mother’s father) my Grandmother was elderly and living alone. My dad made the decision that she should live as close to family as possible. So he moved her into our house! I was two when my Grandma Alice came to live with us. She lived with us for over ten years, up until the day she died at 93 years old. Her quality of life was great up until her final days, and even though my parents did it out of love for her, my siblings and I were able to get so much out of having her around, as well.
- God First:
I learned this one the hard way. Being an Atheist up until my early 20s it was the one thing of all the teachings of my parents I dismissed. My parents are wonderful and understood never to force their beliefs onto their children. They could help teach and guide, but it ultimately a relationship with God is invidual should be respected and sought by each person. And that is exactly what happened.
Happy Birthday Daddy!
You are a good man.