Today is my dad’s birthday and I know I’ve talked about him on here before but I feel the need to today so if you have read this before, I apologize for repeating myself.
My earliest memory of my dad was when I was three years old and had the chicken pox. I was on the phone with him and he told me if I didn’t scratch, he’d buy me a white dress. I loved that dress. I remember thinking it was the prettiest dress I had ever seen. I wish I would have kept it.
Memories after that are sporadic:
I remember him taking me with him to scout basketball games and him taking me to McDonald’s afterwards.
I remember him showing up at my school for the school-wide “Dad’s visit” and me running up to him so excited that he was there.
I remember him taking me out of school to get my weekly allergy shot but after, he didn’t take me back to school. He took me on one of his school’s field trips to a Cub’s game.
I remember going to junior high dances and everyone going to McDonald’s after and looking across the restaurant and seeing my dad sitting there. (This is not my favorite memory, by the way, but now that I am a parent, I get it.)
I remember playing volleyball and cheering and seeing him in the stands.
I remember him feeling bad that I had plans that fell through (because when you date guys that are athletes… not all athletes…there is always a pick-up game somewhere or a game to watch) and him saying, “Don’t go out. Stay here with your dear old dad.” Somehow just him saying that made me feel better.
I remember the look of pride on his face when he got me a summer job teaching in his district and I rocked it.
I remember the night before my wedding him asking me to sit outside with him and talk and me being so tired but not wanting the moment to end so I stayed until he fell asleep (he loved to fall asleep outside in the backyard).
I remember being aggravated that he went golfing the morning of my wedding and showing up late for pictures but then seeing the emotion in his face when he saw me. I remember him staring at me in the limo on the way to the church and saying, “My baby is getting married.” I remember the priest asking him what he wanted to say to Leo and me on this day and him breaking down and only being able to say, “She found a good one.”
I remember the look on his face when he held Nico the first time and him looking over at me saying, “My first grandson.”
I remember when I got invited to go to New York on the NFL’s dime because of my blog and him saying, “You have to go. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You have to go and I’ll babysit.”
I am the luckiest girl in the world because I get to sit at all my boys’ games with my dad. We talk about the game, the kids and life in general. I cherish those moments and feel so blessed after I leave. I hope he knows what a gift he gives my boys, Leo and me by going.
Leo lost his dad to cancer when he was 23 and my dad has never tried to replace him but he loves Leo like a son and I know Leo has appreciated and loved my dad for being someone he can look up to.
He’s my safety zone, my voice of reason, my rock and my hero. I love him with all my heart.
Happy Birthday, Dad!
P.S. Mom, yours is coming in July and I promise I’ll use the picture from your phone. 😉