Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

My parents drove to Tulsa yesterday so we could celebrate Father's Day and Mom's birthday (this Thursday). We had a great time and the only bump in the road (literally) was the drive up here--they were cursed with a flat tire. After an hour delay, they made it here safely.

Father's Day is a little different for me this year. The first thing I thought about, obviously, was my dad (aka. greatest dad in the world). Then I thought about Justin and how he's a dad right now even if he hasn't officially met Evan or Adelyn yet. He and Michelle are now a family of 3 and I hope today is great for him too. And then I thought about Michael--no, we're not having a baby--but I couldn't help and think about the upcoming years when we'll be able to celebrate this special holiday too. I am still more than happy to wait several years before we're able to experience it personally, but it is definitely a holiday I look forward to celebrating with Michael one day.

But back to my dad. On Mother's Day I wrote a post to my mom (aka. greatest mom in the world) and I remember after I finished it I started looking forward to writing a similar post the following month. And here we are...

5 of my favorite dad memories...

1. Tucking me in each night. Dr. Miller told this story at our wedding but I think it's worth mentioning again. When I was young, my dad always popped his head in my room to say goodnite and sweet dreams. Sometimes I was awake and would be able to respond and other times I was fast asleep. And then there were the times I was wide awake but would pretend to be asleep. I would anxiously wait and see if he would still say those sweet words when he thought I wouldn't hear them. And he never missed a night. The only reason he never saw me break into a huge smile was because the lights were already out.

2. Teaching me how to drive. My dad should get a huge award for this. Some people pick up driving quickly, and then there are people like myself. In my defense, he taught me how to drive a manual so I would be able to drive any car I wanted when I was older. As soon as I received my permit (at the tender age of 14), we went to Fort Chaffee all of the time so I could practice braking, changing gears, starting the car on a hill (how many times did I kill that poor car?)... the list goes on and on. I know I got frustrated at him, I am absolutely positive he got frustrated with me, but we were a team and we stuck together until the sweet, victorious end. I'll never forget the day we reached that gruesome hill and I was able to turn right and drive off without killing the engine.

3. Spending the day with me in 6th grade. Part of this story is a bit sad. I had recurring nightmares in 6th grade about a man that lived in Fort Smith, which turned into a borderline anxiety attack. After a night of tears and pain, my dad took off from work and spent the entire day with me. Just the two of us. I remember we drove around Fort Smith and he also took me to the Arkansas dam (I'm not sure what its actual name is). I loved that day, and I loved that he was willing to put everything aside to make sure I felt safe.

4. 37-day-trip-from-hell-vacation. Ok, folks. Usually I bring this trip up because I am wanting to share a "You think YOU'VE been to hell and back, listen to THIS" story. But somewhere, deep, deep, deep down, I loved this trip. I loved the places we visited, I loved cooking food over the fire, I even loved dad's morning wake-up call, "Start stirring!" (Hopefully that got a smile out of Justin...) How many kids can say they've spent 37 days straight with their parents? I know teenage years can be rough and kids are always trying to get away from their parents, but deep down I think they'd be crushed if their parents ever did give them that space. This was an incredible journey and one I will remember forever, thanks partly to my battered journal but mostly to the good memories I will never forget.

5. Walking me down the aisle. October 20, 2007. I spent 11 months excited and nervous about this day, but as each of my bridesmaids walked down the aisle, I stood next to my dad and felt so incredibly calm. I linked my arm through his, he patted my hand with his hand, told me he loved me and how happy he was for me. I know weddings can be hard on dads but he smiled the entire day. I am so glad I was able to walk down one aisle and up another with my two favorite men.

My dad has been the biggest supporter of this blog. He has printed off every entry (I believe there are 65 so far) and put them away in a binder. He even mentioned the other day how he'd started at page one and read through all of them again. I often remind myself that my parents are extraordinary--they are not average, they are not suitable. Together they blessed me with a wonderful childhood, a fantastic brother, and a lifetime of memories that I hope to share with my children one day. Happy Father's Day, dad, you will always be this little girl's hero.

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