You’ve been my dad, my teacher, my rock, my mentor, my good example, my reality check, and my strength and support. I love it that I got to pick you out for my dad when I was a little girl. I love it that we both remember picking buttercups together and I asked you if I could call you “Daddy.” I love it that each year, you mow around that little patch of buttercups in the lawn so that they stand out as a living memory in golden yellow.
You’ve taught me so many things; most of all, how to be a good person. I have heard you say that you were wrong about some things, and often people just don’t do that–they insist on being right all the time. Instead of growing older and more set in your ways, you have grown older and blossomed. Who would have ever thought that you would embrace yoga, homeopathy, Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, organic whole foods; not to mention skiing until you turned 90! Years ago you took up rollerblading and biking, too, as well as canoeing. You have become the true embodiment of the Latin phrase, “Mens sana in corpore sano,” which is translated as “a sound mind in a sound body” or “a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
I always laugh when I remember you saying that you worried that you might not have been “there” for me enough–every little thing I did from kindergarten arts and crafts to graduating from college–you were there. When I moved out on my own, you still were there. I could come home knowing that you and Mom were enjoying your lives and your own interests, and that there was always room and time for me, too.
It was you who gave me a life that included Ba and Bumpa, your parents. They were wonderful grandparents to me, and I have such good memories of them. Summer nights falling asleep on that old porch rocker, listening to the frogs chug-a-rum, chug-a-rum all through the night….Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and all the holidays in between. The five of us had fun together, and I loved it all.
I remember you teaching me how to ski, and how excited I was on that Christmas morning when I found my first pair of skis under the sofa! I couldn’t ski enough–I loved it right from the start. Looking back, it was such a good time, such a feeling of freedom to fly on those skis.
Every Thanksgiving when I was little, we would test the ice on Mirror Lake together; would it be strong enough to hold us up, or would we sink into the cold, icy water? Back then, it seemed like it was always strong enough.
When you taught me how to ride a bike I remember first watching you ride and thinking that I would never be able to get it; that riding a bike was just not going to be for me. But you kept encouraging me, and finally, finally I got it–it was amazing, and at that moment, I felt I could go anywhere. That day I felt that you had given me wings.
I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you, and how much having you for my dad has made my life so good in so many ways. You may not have been my birth father, but what you are to me is far and away beyond mere biology. You are, in every way that matters, my one true dad.
Thank you, my wonderful, amazing, incredible and loving dad.
And to all fathers everywhere, Happy Fathers’ Day!