What is it, exactly, that defines a “good Dad?” Is it his punny jokes? His overprotective streak? The amount of time he spends with his children?
In my experience, it is a lot of little and not-so-little things that all add up. My dad is the absolute King of Puns. Seriously. This is not an exaggeration. He’s also the driving force behind my insatiable hunger for reading. He’s the inspiration behind much of my passion for science, feeding me a diet of Robert Heinlein books as bedtime stories, old Sci-Fi movies on Friday nights while mom was at work (think Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Fly, Godzilla, etc), and many hours spent outside with a telescope trying to spot stars and planets between all the tall trees around our home.
He’s the one who taught me that the “requirements” listed for any given school assignment were really just a suggested minimum – more was always better. He’s the one who taught me how to type on a typewriter, find a book using a card catalog (the real kind, with cards), and look up facts in an encyclopedia.
My dad is the one (despite obvious futility) who always encouraged me to try to learn to catch a baseball, to throw a football, to toss a basketball (Toss? Is that what you do with a basketball? Clearly his efforts were wasted on me, but I appreciate them all the same). My dad is the one who always pushed me to do better, achieve more, climb higher.
He is also the one who taught me to never take myself too seriously, to always be able to laugh at myself. He’s the one who made me understand you can never have too many Husky sweatshirts. A good Mariner’s t-shirt and Seahawks jersey are also absolutely necessary wardrobe inclusions.
He’s been a pinch-hit babysitter so many times when I needed to take myself to a doctor visit, making the one hour drive (each way) to our house without complaint. My dad was the one person I trusted to take care of Zoey for three days while I was in labor with Eleanor. He’s the guy who makes my eyes tear up when I witness the remarkable bond he and Zoey still share as a result of those three days.
Dad, I want you to know: you did a good job. A great job, really. I don’t measure that by my own success or achievement. I measure it by all the things I remember you doing with me as a child that I now find myself reliving with my own children. I measure it by my love for you. I measure it by the knowledge that, never for one moment in my life have I ever doubted your love for me.
Thanks for being you, Dad.