Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spin Cycle: In honor of Dad

Some may have castles on the banks of the Rhine,
And hire an orchestra each evening at nine,
But richer than I they will never be,
I had a Dad who spent time with me.

- author unknown

This was on a plaque that I gave to my dad many years ago for Christmas.  It rings so perfect and true for us, all the more impressive when you stop to consider the environment in which he was raised with very traditional gender roles.  He was the primary earner, the only earner in fact when I was growing up and yet he still made the time to play 'tin-foil football' with my sisters and I after dinner and to coach us in basketball and softball.  He taught us how to catch and throw, how to dribble and shoot, finesse a lay-up and lay down a bunt.  He taught us how to drive a car, check the oil level and change a tire.  He 'taught' us how to parallel park with his patented method:  turn the wheel this way, turn it that way, and you're in.   He imparted to us a deep and abiding love of the Washington Redskins and how the best way to watch the game was with the TV sound off and the radio turned on to Sonny, Sam and Frank.

He showed us what to expect from a partner by how adoringly he treats our Mom.  He has a temper but only with himself.  He could be intimidating to those who didn't know him but he has a wicked sense of humor and has never met a microphone he didn't like.  He is a talented singer, dancer and drummer of which I inherited precisely zero ability.  He sang at all three of our weddings and performed a special 'dance' with my cousin at his.  He was the only one who could calm Rob down when he got too wound up and to this day has a special relationship with him. 
The semester I graduated from college he lost his job.  Beyond a job, a career, it was his identity as Dad had been working steadily since high school, perhaps even earlier.  But he didn't let the job loss define him; instead, he threw is considerable talents into supporting the Knights of Columbus locally and at the state level.  It would have been all too easy to simply give up and turn bitter but he hasn't.  He has embraced his evolved role and stretched himself in ways most of us cannot imagine as at the age of 63 has his own fundraising and conference organizing business.

He is a man of tremendous faith and lives the creed of Catholicism every day.  He inspires all of us to be better people, to be more tolerant though heaven knows he has been known to make sweeping proclamations on what is right and good.  And here I was wondering where I got that lovely trait from....
He ends every conversation wanting to know how he can help and to call on him if we need anything.  And I have as my Dad has helped us with painting the baby's room, putting up borders, fixing the banister, raising and lowering the crib, assembling the TV stand.  I love that he wants to remain involved and I think that he loves being needed.

He is a wonderful grandfather who is adored by all of his grandchildren.  He is a huge part of their lives, even going so far as to be with me when Noah was born lo these 10 months ago.  He supported my shoulders when it was time to push, physically supporting me like the metaphorical support for all of these years.  It meant so much to me to have him there with Mom and Alice and Dylan.  Now a whole new generation will be introduced to tin-foil football and Tickle Monster.  And I don't think that he would have it any other way.

I love you, Dad.  Happy Father's Day.
Now head on over to Sprite's Keeper for more tributes to Dad:  The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, you've brought tears to my eyes! Your father sounds like a wonderful man and, especially with the history of how fathers could be, you got really lucky to have a gem like him. Hope your father had a very happy Father's Day! You're linked!


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