Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Dad He Didn't Have to Be

Happy Father's Day to each and every Dad out there!!

Looking back over the years, I realize that my Dad probably doesn't know what an important role he has played in my life.  For starters, he chose to be my dad.  Most dads don't get the freedom to choose whether or not they want to be a child's father.  They just get whatever kiddo pops out and that God has chosen to give them.

But several years after my mom and dad got married, he made the choice to adopt me.  It's kind of funny because the judge told him that he could leave my mom and everything else behind if they ever split up, but he had to take me with him because by making the choice to become my dad, he was stuck with me until one of us croaks.  Also, he can write everyone out of his will if he so chooses, but not me!

Oh boy, he surely did not know what he was getting himself into.

I am persnickety and stubborn and opinionated, and I wonder how much of that showed when I was little.  My dad, bless him, loves me anyway.  Once, when I was very small and before anyone had the sense to make kids ride in the backseat or put them in child safety seats, I was riding next to him in the front seat and opened the door while the car was moving.  I don't really know why I did it.  I just remember looking at the door handle, wondering what would happen if I pushed down on it, and then deciding to go ahead and try it out.

Thing is... I never felt scared.  Lord knows I probably should have.  The door could have come swinging back and hit me or I could have fallen out, but Dad had a firm grip on my leg and I never for a second thought that he would let go or let anything happen to me.

Throughout the years, on our numerous trips to the beach, Dad would pull me out to the water on a float and stay with me for hours, watching for sharks or jellyfish and keeping the current from pulling me away.  I loved being out there with him, and was never scared that anything bad was going to get me.

According to my dad, I won his heart when I crawled up into his lap for the first time and fell asleep.  He won my heart just by always being there for me and taking care of every single little problem I ever had, no matter how silly it might have seemed to him.

Don't tell him, but sometimes when we would get home from long car trips at night when I was little, I would pretend to be asleep so that he would carry me in.

In elementary school, Dad worked on oil rigs and would be gone for extended periods of time.  Once, after an enthusiastic round of jumping on the bed (yes, there is a reason parents tell you not to do it), I fell off and hit my head on a a hope chest and cut it pretty badly.  I was panicked, mostly because everyone was freaking out that I had busted my head open, and I wanted my dad.  But he was gone.  And I was inconsolable.  There was no calming me down, I wanted my dad and I wanted him right then.  Mom even called our pastor over to try and calm me down (he did have EMT training and we were pretty far away from an emergency room, so maybe that was the reason).  Everyone thought that would work because he was a Clark Kent doppelganger and I had a huge crush on him (I really was convinced he was superman), but even that did not work.  They had to get my dad on the phone to talk to me before I would calm down enough for them to make sure I was not bleeding to death.  Because Dad makes everything better.

Oh, and there is his magic shed.  I swear this shed has the same spell put on it as Hermione's magic bag.  I remember so many times growing up, where he would say "Oh, I've got one of those in my shed" or "I think I've got something to fix this with" and would walk out to the shed and come back with the desired item.  Every time!!  No matter what I broke or lost or messed up, he always seemed to be able to repair it or come up with the solution to the problem.

I can't tell you how many times he has untangled my necklaces or fixed my car or moved me from one place to another... I could go on and on and on.  Even now, when my problems are much bigger and so much harder to solve, I know that all I have to do is call him and he will do whatever he can to help me.  He has sacrificed so much and given so much.  I will never be able to return the favor or make him understand how grateful I am.

And then there is Deputy D.  They say that girls tend to marry someone just like their father.  I don't know about that, but I do know that Deputy D has stepped up to the plate and chosen to be the best Dad to Little Man that anyone could be.  He loves him so much, and tries to make up for all the bad that Little Man has to deal with.  And Little Man looks up to him and admires him, and he tries to be like him when he thinks no one is looking.

Deputy D may not know how to fix everything that we break, and he spends a lot of time on the phone with my dad asking his opinion on things.  I hear Dad laughing in the background saying, "That sounds about right.  Good luck with that, son."  I think Dad learned his tricks and trade secrets on his own, and is confident that Deputy D will as well.

I just want both of them to know today that I love them and I admire them, and I am grateful for everything they have done, and I am sure that they will continue to do (because I really do break a lot of stuff and have a lot of problems).

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