Saturday, June 14, 2008

In Honor of All the Cool Dads

To My Dad;

My Dad is hard-working, earnest, conscientious guy with an incredibly rock-solid work ethic who raised, along with my Mom, three quirky daughters. These days, I am a cynical, free-wheeling Mom of two boys, but I still remember when I was a little girl, waiting up until late at night for Daddy to come home. My Dad worked the 3-11 pm shift, and I would hear Mom pattering around the house in her slippers, waiting for him, way past my bedtime. It was only after I heard him come in every evening and lock the door firmly behind him that I could sleep, because only then did I truly feel safe in my little-girls' bedroom with the white and yellow flowered curtains. To this day, I go around checking the locks in my home at night. And I never seem to get to sleep until past that eleven o'clock mark.

But the biggest lesson my Dad ever taught me was cooperation. "One hand washes another," he used to say, and that's true. The best relationships and partnerships I have today come from that central idea, that people help each other, and that each one of us has a responsibility to give back.

Except Dads don't really expect anything back. I watched my Dad take care of his own parents until they passed away a few years ago. I remember him doing many things above and beyond the call of duty for us kids, like making a late 'Taco Bell run' on a Friday night while we all watched TV together after his work week was done and I know he would rather have just stayed put at home. The ice-cream man never went by our house without us kids running outside holding up a dollar from Dad. There's no doubt he and Mom sacrificed a lot in their lives so that my sisters and I could go to college--we grew up in Florida, and I know Mom and Dad didn't have air conditioning in their home until I was a teen. And Mom never had a dishwasher, and Dad put off buying big-ticket items for a long time. My parents never even moved into a new house until after I, their youngest daughter, was married and had a home of her own.

So I guess it's only fitting that I spend at least a little time today letting my Dad know that I do remember those things he's done for us girls, and that I hope I am doing half the job raising my own kids as he and Mom did raising theirs.

Thanks, Dad. And Happy Father's Day!

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