Fortunately for me, my father actually is quite wonderful and thus the obligatory part is less obligatory and more pleasant.
Yes, my father is wonderful.
And rather than tell you the ways in which he is wonderful, how about I share a few stories so you might glimpse it for yourself?
When I was in sixth grade (because indeed, all time when you're young must be measured by grades rather than years), my grandfather passed away. This was my father's father. He had been sick for some time but for those who have lost a loved one in such a manner, we all know that this does not often soften the loss.
My mom was home when we received the phone call. It had come just minutes before I was to leave for a sleepover at a friend's house. I insisted I was fine and left for the sleepover anyways.
I held it together the entire evening and the next day. My dad came to pick me up and, being my dad, noticed that I was not nearly as fine as I had previously stated.
So he pulled the car over on the side of the road. And I cried. For a long time. My little sixth grade memory doesn't remember if he cried too. All I remember is sitting with my dad, crying as he told me how hard it is to lose someone but how very important it is to allow yourself to feel those feelings.
My father is wonderfully supportive.
I called my father a few weeks ago, stressed about an upcoming trip, knowing that said trip will be both incredible and necessary (more about this to come), but also knowing that my husband's hours will be cut soon and we will have less money than we do now.
My father said to me, "Emily, have I ever left you hanging?"
And I thought about it. In college, he drove me back and forth to Boston because I didn't like the bus. Then I moved to Chicago and started working for a non-profit. For my corporate friends, non-profit means no money which means I'm still waiting for that big raise. My first year of teaching, I took on a ridiculous project that resulted in a good week of tears. I called my dad, as he has the often under-appreciated knack for fixing everything. He told me, "Go buy a printer and I'll pay for it. I like to think maybe you're doing some good in this world." And I bought that printer and I've (perhaps foolishly) taken on that same project every year since, with less tears each year. That would have been the last year had it not been for that gift of a printer from my dad.
He has bailed me out financially more times than I care to remember. And I am able to work a job I love and live in a place I had never visited prior to moving because I have a father who has never left me hanging. I can take chances and make mistakes and figure out my place in this crazy world because I am undeservingly privileged to have a father who will be there if it all crashes.
My father is wonderfully generous.
Lastly, on father's day, might I also celebrate my dad as a husband being that there's no husband's day?
My mom says there's just something about being in the house you grew up in that no matter how old you might be, you enter and have the feeling that finally you can relax and someone will take care of you. My mom always takes care of me when I'm home. And without my mom, I know that that house would be nothing more than a house.
And every time I leave, I wonder why I ever left. But I guess that's part of life, no? Leaving so you can appreciate what you left?
But more importantly, every time I leave, my dad calls me when I've landed back in Chicago to remind me to call my mom in the next day or two to thank her for her hospitality. I know, Lydie, you are probably shocked to find out that it's not me who remembers to thank you, but rather your husband who remembers to remind me to thank you.
My father is wonderfully thoughtful.
So, Paul, I know you've waited a long time for a mention on this here little blog. I hope it was worth the wait.
I love you, dad.