When I was a little girl, I used to wake up early and have breakfast with my dad before he went to school or work. My dad’s a morning person, and my mom’s a night owl, so it worked out well for everyone involved to have me spend some quality time with my dad each morning. I’d like to say I remember these mornings as a 2-5 year old all on my own, but I’m definitely aided by the stories my parents tell me, and the home movies we have of me sitting at the kitchen table at 6 am in my Princess Jasmine costume coloring oh-so-gorgeous pictures of our family and my days as a care-free California girl.
My dad and I ate breakfast together. We colored. We went on walks around the neighborhood. And we read stories. From my recollection, however faulty it may be, my dad’s two favorite books to read to me (and my siblings as they came along) were Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel and The Goops. We were little buds, me and my dad.
My dad always made me feel important, empowered, special. Like I could do whatever he was doing. When he went on speaking assignments for our church, he’d take me with him, and I felt so proud that I could go and give a talk in a church as an 8-11 year old and felt like I was helping my dad out. In reality the 2 minutes I spoke for my dad could have filled without any additional preparation, but I felt important.
He took me to Take-Your-Father-To-Work Day with him, and I got to eat snacks out of his desk, and make a blue, glass heart paper-weight. I know that’s not what my dad normally did at work, but I felt pretty cool hanging out with my dad in his office that one day a year.
My dad did a lot of traveling while I was growing up, which made the one-on-one time I did get even more special. He even went prom dress shopping with me on a long layover in Montreal, Canada because my mom and I didn’t get to it sooner. He watched me try on probably 50 dresses.
My favorite memory of my dad though, isn’t one specific memory.
It’s of a general demeanor of cheerfulness my dad has, and of his ability to make me laugh at myself when I’m being silly.
It’s the way he never raises his voice, and how the angriest any of us has ever seen my dad is when he said in an even tone that he FELT like throwing a wrench through a window after working on a leaky boiler for 6 hours on a 4th of July.
It’s the way my dad uses his time wisely–we tease him about not having a Facebook or a LinkedIn, but my dad has more important things to do with his time than social media, and he knows it. When my dad has free time, mostly on planes, my dad reads.
It’s the way my dad treats my mom–with love, adoration, respect and complete trust.
And it’s the way I know that my dad loves us, his kids, completely and totally, and wants the best for us.
To the dads of the world, I realize that this is your week, and tomorrow is your day, but consider giving a gift to your children–the gift of time. Those quiet moments of father-daughter or father-son time will become precious memories they will take with them as they reach adulthood and grow up and their relationship with you can be a strong foundation off of which to build other healthy relationships in their future. Allow your children to stand on your shoulders, the shoulders of giants.
What are your favorite memories of your dad? If you don’t tell us, make sure you tell him!