Two years ago I wrote a post sharing seven things I love about my Mom. I intended to write a companion post for my Dad that same year, and then the next year, but for some reason it never happened. As you’ll see, it’s not for lack of reasons. So in 2015, here are eight things I love about my Dad (in no particular order):
1. He is full of wisdom. This fact has always impressed me, apparently, because when I was in elementary school I designed and printed him a poster entitled “Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned From My Dad” (sorry, Mom). You can click here to see a photo of this gem :) I could fill an entire blog post with his nuggets of wisdom that were imprinted upon me after being repeated over and over and over throughout my childhood, but one of my favorites is, “If you’re going to give, give graciously.” He knows that what you do is not always as important as how you do it.
2. He always takes the scenic route. Literally. He thinks the world is a beautiful place and doesn’t mind taking the longer way to see more of it. He’ll also take any excuse for a road trip, especially if a daughter is at the other end. He and I drove from Maine to Chicago once to help my older sister move, and driving through those picturesque New England towns with him is one of our fondest memories together.
3. He is a diplomat. He studied international law and diplomacy for his PhD, and instead of taking his skills around the world, he deployed them in our home and community. He is the one you want leading a meeting as well as refereeing at the dinner table. He is calm, patient, and fair, always. He votes in every election and is informed about every issue. He can strike up a conversation with anyone and put them at ease, even though at heart he’s an introvert like me. As one more example, when my family drove across the country for two weeks, he wrote up a family contract of behavior and made everyone (including parents) sign it, then laminated it and displayed it in the car on the drive.
4. I learned my punny humor from him. No opportunity is ever wasted to make a play on words.
5. He loves reading, writing, and learning, and he taught me to love them, too. For more than thirty years, my Dad was a college professor. He is SO smart, but he’s still intensely curious to learn, most often through reading. He is always reading. My sisters and I love to read, too, and I could not be more grateful that he instilled that love in me at a young age – it has shaped my life in every way. He also taught me almost everything I know about grammar and editing. Even after correcting dozens of student papers, he would always read through mine for school. Instead of correcting them for me, however, he would mark each line that had an error, and then we would go line by line together, and I would have to figure out what it was. He did this even if I brought him the paper at 10pm the night before it was due. No short cuts.
6. He is a dedicated servant. To his church, our country, our family cottages, civic groups, teams he coached, and more. When you’re a good leader (see no. 3), people tend to ask you to lead, and any position he accepts, he executes with graciousness and diligence.
7. He is a music maker. He has the most beautiful voice, he loves to sing harmony, and he is an amazing whistler. He regularly breaks out into song, most often while doing after dinner dishes.
8. He truly cherishes his children. In the end, this is my Dad’s defining characteristic. He will talk to anyone about his daughters – what we’re up to, what we did the last time we were together, when he’s going to visit us next. He has saved (and displayed) the most ridiculous grade school gifts we made him – his old office was full of them. Some of you may remember the books of drawings he gave Kate and I at our rehearsal dinners. When we were younger, he was NEVER too busy to read with us, ever. He is an example to me every day in how to treasure my closest relationships — and to show them that through my actions.
Bonus reason no. 9: He is one of my most faithful blog readers. If you see Rob commenting, that’s him :)
I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!