Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Dad is Better Than Your Dad

IMG_0002, originally uploaded by diahn.

This photo was taken half his age ago. I remember when it was taken, although I wasn't there. He was in Greece, stationed there by the Air Force for a year, and the rest of us were in Alabama, living with my mother's parents. I remember the day he came home. I was 6 years old, and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to recognize him after a year. My grandmother told me to not worry - I would always know my daddy.

She was right. Although, when he started snoring later at the house, I was scared.

My dad was gone a lot when I was young - in the service of our country - but his presence was always there. He worked two or three jobs (including the military) most of my life, sleeping whenever he could grab a nap. He worked hard so my mom could stay home with me and my brother and sister. He worked hard because that's how his father worked. He worked hard because that's just the kind of guy he is.

My favorite memories of my dad when I was little was when we would go to the lake to go swimming. Dad could hold his breath longer than anyone I have ever met. We would watch him go under the water WAAAAAYYY over THERE...we'd be completely silent, waiting to see if we could find a clue to where he was going, when suddenly, without warning, one of us would go flying up out of the water, propelled by his powerful arms.

You can't buy that kind of fun. Suspense, adrenaline...FLIGHT.

My boys tell me he still does it, although I haven't witnessed it in a while.

He can build and/or fix anything, as long as he has a hammer and a roll of wire. Maybe some duct tape. I'm pretty sure they modeled McGyver on him. When I wrecked my first car, about 2 weeks after I got it, we spent some quality time together in the garage, putting it back together. It didn't matter that I was a girl - I wrecked it...I would have to fix it. It was hot, greasy, smelly work and I loved it. Whenever I smell an engine now, I think of those nights we spent together under the hood of my pretty, wrecked, fire engine red Chevy. I drove it for 2 years with a primer gray hood and blue headlight covers. Then he finally found a nose piece and grill and we got to have it painted one color.

From him I got my height, my blue eyes, my gigantic teeth and my stick straight hair. I also got a love of reading (okay - more like an obsession), a strong desire to express my opinions, a love of all things mechanical and/or electronic and a fearlessness that sometimes leads to impulsiveness (but in a good way, of course). I also learned from him how a man should treat his wife...

...with respect and love and tenderness and a healthy dose of chocolate.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you very much.

(and yes - I'm almost 40, but he'll always be my Daddy.)