My kids adore daddy. When he walks through the door at the end of a long day, a gust of fresh air enters the room. Everyone is suddenly energized and cheerful, and all temper tantrums-in-progress become long forgotten. Daddy is the fun one. Daddy has that special touch. My daughter, Karenna, jumps into his arms, and it’s all over. And the feeling is mutual–He’s wrapped around her pudgy little finger.
Father’s Day reminds me of this stuff, and also of my own dad. I remember how he taught me how to bait a hook and check the oil in my first car. How he was the one who broke the news to me about Santa. How he took me all over town in his pick-up truck. Going to the dump with daddy was the best treat ever.
Only now do I realize how much alike he and I are. As a teenager I butted heads with him because I inherited his Irish temper and opinionated disposition. But now our conversations are rather enjoyable. We both love discussing politics, and watching Meet the Press in our pj’s on Sunday morning. We both love the outdoors and a good hearty meal. We both love fixing things ourselves. We both hate talking on the phone. We’re independent and stubborn, loyal and too honest. And the list goes on.
Two things I learned from my dad: If it’s not done right, it’s not worth doing; Work hard and play hard. And play hard he does. My dad’s social calendar, I hate to admit, is fuller than mine. And he seems happier than ever.
But more than anything, I think about how my dad never stopped being my number one fan. I still remember his beaming face during my high school musicals, sitting in the audience as proud as if I were debuting on American Idol. He always told me that I have what it takes to do whatever I want, and he still thinks I can do anything. And he still watches over me, making sure I’m happy and well cared for. I’m still his little girl.
I already see much of my husband in Karenna, and it makes me smile. There’s something special to be said about daddies and their daughters. Last night I almost lost my patience with Karenna after she refused to go to bed without her missing princess pj’s on. But when my husband walked in and put one of his soft T-shirts on her, calling it her new “nightie,” everything was again right with the world. Daddy made it all better.
Once that magic is there, I guess it never goes away. Even after the little girl grows up, moves away and has kids of her own. Happy Father’s Day, dad.