If you know me, you know my dad...
You'll probably laugh if you see this picture. No, it's not us. It's the model version of us. The picture in the frame. While this cute little girl posed perfectly with her dad on the beach, we were out catching slimy polliwogs in the pond in mismatched clothes. Maybe we did squeeze in a pic like that, but I sure don't have it.
Listen, I'm sure I've done some sort of painted hand print with my name written in shaky kindergarten block letters. I bet at some point I presented you with some unidentifiable scribbles and a proud, "Happy Father's Day" smile. As a teenager, I'm guessing that my crummy rhyming poems were the fashion trend. Since then, I haven't taken the chance to really reflect on the miracle you have been in my life. Where do I even start? Freddy, I know what I want to say, I just don't know how to say it. It's all going to come out at random.
You taught me to throw a frisbee, sure and straight, hitting it square into the trunk of the neighbor's tree for par.
Whenever we'd play the "car game" on road trips, you could name the make and model of any car passing us on the opposite side. Knowing you, it might have been made up, but it was superhuman to me.
I thought you were the most hilarious person in the world whenever you'd sneak up behind someone and slide a piece of ice into their shirt or when you'd grab a cup of cold water and pour it over the shower curtain onto mom. We'd all chuckle in the hallway when she scream, "Oh, Fred!!"
I trusted riding in front of you on the motorcycle, my hair probably blowing into your mouth. I squealed, terrified, but thrilled at the same time, gripping you tighter. We'd eat Lunchables and licorice together on the tailgate of the van, the exhaust fumes still heavy in the air.
The smell of sawdust and wood glue will always remind me of visiting you at the shop. I'd play with the color samples in the showroom and scoop the debris into little piles on the floor. Thank you for showing me your projects, what type of wood you installed for the custom cabinets, and how fancy the houses were on the inside. I still walk through model homes critiquing their design choices and what I would have done differently.
All these witty memes and puns - I don't need them. Dad joke books? I've heard them all before. From you. You are the original.
You introduced me to heaven - Snelgroves Burnt Almond Fudge ice cream and how to eat a caramel apple without breaking my teeth.
Do you know that I wash my car and my windows just like you? I'm freakishly methodical. Top to bottom, then dried off with a chamois.
When I left your house with my boys this weekend, you handed me a small cooler stocked with kid sized waters and juice boxes, iced and ready for our six hour drive back home. I know your love language.
You still lift the hood on my car and check the oil even though I'm married with a family of my own. You rush to the store to pick up a new wiper blade even though you know I'm heading back to the desert where we probably won't see rainfall for at least another year.
You still high-five me in Scrabble when I create a 40 point mic drop that bumps you into second place.
You make me want to buy a box of doughnuts and take them back to my hair stylist because I heard she had a rough day.
I wish I could boldly slap a HEMI sticker onto the back of a non-HEMI engine car. Like you, I would get a rush out of everyone's reactions as they tried to call my bluff.
I cheer for whatever team is the least favorite. I like to cause chaos.
I wish we could take a trip to the boat docks, pull up a lawn chair and a soda, and watch the spats that ignite when couples try to launch a boat into a lake or dock it. Good times.
I play fair, but I'm no pushover. I speak my mind, but know the power of silence. My eyes water when I laugh too hard. I'm A LOT like you.
I never want to disappoint you. That's worse than any punishment.
I look up to you in so many ways. Your habits are mine. Your imperfections glossed over by the spiritual giant you are.
Thank you for putting up with a moody, unruly teenager who wore too much lipliner and thought maxi pads on your car windows would be funny. (Silence =Powerful).
Someday, when I'm retired, I want to start my own Vespa scooter gang and drive around the neighborhood handing out ice cream sandwiches to everyone. Then again, that's your gig.
Love you more!