When I was a little girl, I used to look up at my daddy with awe. He was so tall. I loved it when he would put me up on his shoulders as we were walking home from our neighbor's house. The things I remember doing with Dad consist of yard work and projects around the house - he taught me what wrenches and pliers were and the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver. I was his assistant on many building operations. I don't remember him playing with us or roughhousing after we were too big for him to throw in the air, but I remember lots of projects.
In my teenage years, Dad and I had some pretty rough times. We also had some long, long talks about politics, American history and other heavy topics as well. When we weren't disagreeing, we got along really well and he taught me so much during those talks. One piece of common ground for us was FSU Baseball. Occasionally, I'd try to understand as dad marked each play on his game diagram. I never did catch onto it, though. We'd both enjoy the antics of The Animals of Section B (in the grandstand) as they sang Oh, Canada every fifth inning as tribute to a favorite ESPN announcer from Canada.
At one point during those turbulent years, Dad said to me that we were too much alike. It was his theory that we butted heads because of it. I didn't disagree with him back then, but the older I get, I seem to be a little less like him and more like my mom. I don't mind being like my dad, but I'm glad that it's balanced with the influence of my mom. (Dad agrees; we've discussed it.)
Being far away from my mom was hard, but we talked all the time. Being far away from my dad is hard, too, but we don't talk near enough. We aren't as close and I don't think he likes talking on the phone - mostly because he's cheap (his words). I enjoy my relationship with my dad now more than ever before. We don't always agree, but I've grown up enough that I don't take it personally. He has too. ;) I love that Dad makes more effort than ever before to reach out to us, his children. It's doesn't come naturally for him, so I appreciate his efforts to stay in touch.
This year, Dad is alone for the first time on Father's Day since my younger brother - the last of us - just moved out of town. Knowing him, he won't be bothered at all about this, because he's not into all these commercialized holidays. But I'm missing him and thinking about him today anyway.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!