Father’s Day is the perfect time to reflect on the wit and wisdom of our dads. Whether they blessed us or burdened us or both, the memory of their presence in our formative years is something we carry with us for a lifetime. My own Dad came into my life after I was born, marrying Mom when I was less than three years old. I love him for making that decision alone, but I have a list of 10 other things I love about him.
1. His strength. When I was a kid, Dad worked at Kmart where his nickname was The Hulk. He always seemed like the strongest man I knew.
2. His sense of humor. One Sunday morning we’re all getting ready for church and Dad was sitting on the couch wearing only pants—and no shoes or shirt. When we told him it’s time to get going, he replied, “I was waiting for you.”
3. His mix-ups. One night Dad came downstairs and saw my brother and I watching our favorite British comedy series. He called it “Marty Python.”
4. His talent with tools. I remember Dad working on cars, fixing bikes, and taking care of stuff in the house. When my brother and I put a hole in the hallway wall upstairs, Dad patched it. Unfortunately, he had to do it a second time after we accidentally pushed through his patch job.
5. His bowling skills. For years we had a large collection of Dad’s bowling trophies in a picture window at our apartment. When I go home again, I hope to find just one and bring it back with me.
6. His dedication to blackberry-picking. Dad could spend hours in the hot August sun wearing a flannel shirt to protect his skin as he picked hundreds of delicious wild berries that Mom would turn into amazing pies.
7. His love for the Yankees. He rooted for the team during its worse period in history and continues to watch the games this season as the Yankees struggle with injuries. When he commits to a team, he commits for life.
8. His appreciation of history. Dad enjoys reading about historical battles and even plays video games set during war times.
9. His devotion to Mom. In September they celebrate 40 years of marriage, and it seems like they created a relationship with balance and harmony along the way. They have spent 32 of those years in the same house, rarely ever apart from each other. It makes going home to see them an experience I truly value.
10. His love for my daughter. I want Dad (and Mom) to enjoy an extended visit one summer with their granddaughter. We have spent a week at a time so far, but I know Dad would truly enjoy the opportunity to do more with his granddaughter. I imagine them swimming in the St. Lawrence River, fishing in the Adirondack foothills, and setting up playdates with special friends in New York.